Chai Jaai-Mahatta Cafe Dispute Reaches Court

Court Restrains Mahatta Cafe Owners From Making Defamatory Statements

Srinagar: A local court on Saturday issued an order restraining owners of Mahatta Café from making “defamatory statements" against former Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Haseeb Drabu in connection with Chai Jaai-Mahatta Cafe dispute.

Drabu has filed suit for Rs 5 Crore in damages ‘by way of recompense for slander’.

Additional District Judge Srinagar Sudhir Kumar Khajuria, in an order, said, “…non-applicants (Anita Mehta, wife of late Jagdish Mehta and Dushyant Mehta, son of late Jagdish Mehta) are restrained from making libelous /defamatory statement against the applicant/plaintiff (DR Haseeb A Drabu),” who filed the case through Advocate Shariq J Reyaz.

“The instant application for grant of interim relief has been presented today along with the main suit after being assigned to this Court by learned Principal District Judge, Srinagar, for disposal under law after, after having been presented through virtual mode by the learned counsel for the applicant/plaintiff. It has been averred in the application for grant of a temporary injunction that the non-applicants/ defendants be restrained from making disparaging/ defamatory statements against the applicant/ plaintiff and also restrains from persisting with the tort of libel/ stander committed as joint tortfeasors,” reads the court order.

Drabu had approached the court seeking an injunction restraining Mehtas from making any kind of statements against him.

As also, a claim of damages for libel after reports had emerged that the plaintiff threatened Mehtas over the property dispute.

As per the order, “In the main suit, the plaintiff is seeking relief of damages by way of recompense for the stand/libel and permanent injunction restraining the defendants from indulging into slanderous/libelous statements against the plaintiff.”

However, the court order says that the non-applicants shall be at liberty to approach this court for modification, cancellation, discharge, or variation of the order by or before the next date of hearing on 12, 6, 2021.

“It is to be made clear that the applicant shall comply with the requirements as laid down in Proviso to Rule 3 of Order 39 CPC,” the order said.

Earlier, Anita Mehta had accused former JK Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu, of a land grab attempt.

Mehta had approached the press, and alleged that the owners of Chai Jai were using political power and threatening them.

Mehta had made the allegation after Mahatta cafe in Srinagar was been sealed by the Jammu and Kashmir administration amid the property dispute, and for allegedly violating COVID norms.

Mahatta cafe is owned by the Mehta family which has been in Kashmir for about a hundred years spanning three generations.

Chai Jaai was set up by the Mehtas in a joint profit-sharing venture with Haseeb Drabu and his wife, Roohi Nazki, in 2016. The Mehtas set up ‘Cafe Mahatta’ while Drabu and Nazki set up a tea house, ‘Chai Jaai’.

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