Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik told the Bombay high court on Thursday that he will not post any tweets or make any public statements against Narcotics Control Bureau's zonal director Sameer Wankhede, his father or any of their family members till December 9, the next date of hearing.
The assurance came after the high court asked the minister whether he has lodged a complaint with the caste scrutiny committee regarding his allegations against Sameer Wankhede's caste credentials, and said if he has not done so what was his intention behind the 'media publicity', which it said does not befit a minister.
The statement on Malik's behalf was made by his counsel Karl Tamboly before a bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav after it said that it was inclined to pass an order restraining the minister from making public comments against the Wankhedes till further hearing.
The bench said that it was apparent that Malik's tweets had stemmed out of malice.
'Why is the minister behaving like this? Why should he behave like this we want to know? This is nothing but malice. Please read the dictionary meaning of malice,' the HC said.
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Dnyandev Wankhede, father of Sameer Wankhede, challenging the order of a single bench of the high court that had refused on November 22, to restrain Malik from making defamatory statements against him and his family.
Senior counsel Birendra Saraf, who appeared on behalf of Dnyandev before the bench led by Justice Kathawalla, submitted that the single bench had recorded in its order that Malik had made allegations against Sameer Wankhede pertaining to his religion, and his having received illegal gratification while on duty, without due verification.
"The findings of the single bench are that the tweets (by Malik) had actuated out of malice and animosity and yet, no relief was granted to me (Dnyandev)," Saraf said.
"The single judge says that he (Malik) disregarded the truth, and that the documents he submitted in court were either interpolated or not verified," he said.
Saraf further said that the minister had made comments not just against Dnyandev and Sameer Wankhede, but against their other family members too.
"He (Malik) has spared no one...my daughter, my dead wife. This morning, too, he has tweeted," Saraf said referring to a tweet made by the minister on Thursday morning, wherein he posted an image of a document that he called pertained to the last rites of Dnyandev's wife and showed her religion as Muslim.
Saraf further said that Malik had submitted documents in court casual without verification.
Tamboly, however, said that the NCP leader had submitted verified documents before the single bench on affidavit to prove several allegations made against the Wankhedes, including the claim that Sameer Wankhede, though born a Muslim had falsely claimed in his caste certificate to belong to a designated Scheduled Caste (SC) category to secure his central government job.
At this, the bench asked if Malik had made any formal complaint before the caste scrutiny committee.
When Tamboly said no such complaint had been made yet, the bench asked why Malik was then making such public statements?
'Any complaint made to the caste scrutiny committee? If no then what is he trying to prove? Is this for media publicity? For claims of caste falsities, everyone has a redressal forum (the caste scrutiny committee),' the high court said.
'If there is a caste certificate in his (Malik's) favor, then instead of all this media publicity that he wants everyday, especially after his son-in-law was arrested by wankhede, why not approach the committee?...He is a minister...does it befit him to do all this?' the bench asked.
The court further said that if it was obvious that Malik's tweets had actuated out of malice, and the same had been recorded as a categorical finding of the single bench, then what must logically follow was that the minister be restrained from making further comments until Dnyandev Wankhede's appeal was heard finally by the court.
Tamboly then sought time to take instructions.
He said that Malik's daughter-in-law was present in court and that they has decided that 'instead of getting into a controversy, I (Malik) will not tweet or say anything until the final hearing'.
The high court accepted Tamboly's statement, but asked why was the minister's daughter-in-law present in the court room when she was not a party to the case.
'Is the minister's entire family involved in this? Why is she here?' the HC asked.
It, however, took on record Tamboly's statement that 'no tweets and public statements shall be made against the plaintiff (Dnyandev Wankhede) and his family members through any means of publicity, whether directly or indirectly' until December 9, the next date of hearing.