The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has withdrawn its controversial circular on filing defamation cases against media organisations for any news stories that may damage the reputation of the party, or that of the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and other ministers.
According to sources, the Directorate of Information and Publicity has issued an order withdrawing the circular. The move comes nearly two months after the Supreme Court stayed the circular issued by the AAP government.
Sources said the circular had been withdrawn as the government was of the view that it would be able to take a call on the issue only after the verdict of the Supreme Court. “The circular was withdrawn on Monday itself. This circular was related to filing defamation cases against media organisations for any news that causes damage to its reputation or that of CM and other ministers,” said a senior government official.
The AAP government had faced immense criticism and the opposition had cornered it for issuing such a circular and had accused it of ‘gagging’ the voice of media.
On May 6, the Delhi government had issued a circular asking all its officials to lodge a complaint with the principal secretary (Home) if they come across any news story that damaged the reputation of the chief minister or the government, so that further action can be taken.
The Editors Guild of India had also deplored the controversial circular issued by the Delhi government regarding defamatory news, calling it a ‘crude attempt’ to ‘still’ media criticism.
On May 14, the Supreme Court had stayed the May 6 circular of Delhi government.