NGO files Rs 1,000 cr defamation suit

New Delhi : In a breather to yoga guru Ramdev, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed all the proceedings arising from the spate of complaints filed against him following his ‘honeymoon’ remarks against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s visits to the Dalit homes.

A bench of Chief Justice R M Lodha, Justice A K Patnaik, Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice S S Nijjar also issued notice to the states where aggrieved people have filed complaints or registered FIRs. Besides staying all the proceedings on the complaints and FIRs, the court issued notices to all the complainants seeking response on Ramdev’s plea for clubbing of all the cases and transferring then before a court in Lucknow or any place that may be decided by the court.

The apex court said that it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case.  Along with the clubbing of all the cases, Ramdev has sought order restraining any coercive action against him.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi assisted by Keshav Mohan appeared for the yoga guru, who is facing flak after his remarks April 25.  Directing the listing of the matter in July after vacations, the court asked Ramdev to deposit Rs. 10 lakh with its registry that might be used for meeting the travel expenses of the complainants if the cases filed across the country are clubbed and sent to one court.

Meanwhile, an NGO based in Ahmedabad has filed a civil defamation suit against Baba Ramdev, seeking damages of Rs.1,000 cr, for making an anti-Dalit remark while taking a dig at the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

Ramdev landed in a controversy last month when he said that Rahul visits Dalit houses for ‘picnic and honeymoon’. “Ramdev has made defamatory remarks about the Dalit community and particularly the Dalit women,”” the application filed by Ratna Vora, president of the NGO Ambedkar Karvaan, before the civil court here says.

Justifying the demand of Rs.1,000 cr, it says, “Ramdev’s remarks were defamatory for the entire Dalit community. As there are approximately 28 crore Dalits in this country as per the census, Ramdev must be made accountable to pay the damages to the entire community.”                           — PTI

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