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Updated on: Friday, November 12, 2021, 11:25 PM IST

FPJ Legal: Bombay HC says Nawab Malik should have been more careful while uploading Sameer Wankhede’s birth certificate on social media

FPJ Legal: Bombay HC says Nawab Malik should have been more careful while uploading Sameer Wankhede’s birth certificate on social media | PTI

FPJ Legal: Bombay HC says Nawab Malik should have been more careful while uploading Sameer Wankhede’s birth certificate on social media | PTI

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Mumbai: While reserving order in Dnyandev Wankhede’s plea seeking interim restraint on Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik, the Bombay high court observed that as a public officer and MLA, the NCP leader should have been more careful while uploading the Mumbai NCB chief Sameer Wankhede’s birth certificate on social media since there seem to be chances of ‘interpolation’ in the birth certificate of NCB officer Sameer Wankhede.

A vacation bench of Justice Madhav Jamdar questioned Malik’s advocate whether the minister had exercised due care while uploading Sameer Wankhede’s birth certificate that showed interpolation.

The HC was hearing a defamation suit filed by Dnyandev Wankhede, the father of the NCB officer who was seeking interim restraint on Malik from posting defamatory statements against him and his family on social media. Dnyandev has sought interim restraint on Malik till the suit is decided.

In his defence, Malik had said that he had “reasonably verified” Sameer’s birth certificate and the ‘nikahnama’ of the latter’s first marriage.

On the other hand, Dnyandev’s additional affidavit had annexed 28 documents to show he was always known as Dnyandev and never as Dawood. The documents included his school leaving certificate, caste certificate, passport, Aadhaar, PAN and election cards and also those of his son and daughter. He had also attached a statement of his late wife which said that she was a Muslim, married a Hindu and then converted.

Arshad Shaikh, advocate for Dnyandev, argued that Sameer’s original birth certificate may have been submitted in school. He pointed out that the purported birth certificate produced by Malik has the name Dawood rectified to Dnyandev.

The advocate argued that because Malik’s son-in-law was arrested by the NCB, the Wankhedes were being targeted, including allegations of extortion being made against the family.

He further said that even after the defamation suit had been filed, Malik continued to tweet and hold press conferences. He informed that Malik had in the past attacked Anna Hazare and “is attacking the ex-CM and his wife.”

Senior advocate Atul Damle, for Malik, said Wankhede had not produced a xerox of the original birth certificate to show it was contrary.

Justice Jamdar said there appeared to be interpolation in the birth certificate produced by Malik. “I am saying this since Day 1, is this the manner in which a BMC officer will write ‘Samir’? There is interpolation,” he said.

Justice Jamdar further said; “You are a member of assembly and you are spokesperson of a national political party. You should be more careful.”

The judge further said that verification was very important. Justice Jamdar said: “The Supreme Court has held that the right to privacy is part of Article 21 (Right to Life) and it is a fundamental right.”

The court also agreed with Shaikh’s argument that the Supreme Court had said one had to be within the parameters, which specifically say that verification is a must.

“Do you admit there is interpolation?” asked Justice Jamdar.

When Damle said that ‘Samir’ only was written in capital letters, justice Jamdar said that “there are also different handwritings” on the certificate.

Besides, the verification by a layman is different from that by a minister, said Justice Jamdar. “You are getting it very easily. General public has to file an RTI application, appeal, second appeal. Therefore, what is the due care you have taken when the document shows apparent interpolation?” asked Justice Jamdar.

To this Damle replied: “Since it is coming from a public authority (BMC), I posted it. I thought it was genuine.”

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Published on: Friday, November 12, 2021, 11:25 PM IST
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