The Supreme Court has directed IPS officer D Roopa to delete her defamatory social media posts against IAS officer Rohini Sindhuri. The court gave Roopa a deadline of 24 hours to remove the objectionable content. If she is unable to delete all the posts, she must post a statement clarifying that she is withdrawing all her comments against Sindhuri.
The directive came during the hearing of a petition filed by Roopa seeking to quash a criminal defamation complaint filed by Sindhuri. The two officers from Karnataka were involved in a public spat earlier this year when Roopa shared personal pictures of Sindhuri on social media and made corruption allegations against her. In response, Sindhuri initiated civil and criminal proceedings against her.
Previously, the Supreme Court had urged both officers to resolve their disputes through mediation. However, the court was informed that the mediation had failed. Expressing disappointment, the bench highlighted the negative impact of such conflicts on the administration.
During the hearing, Sindhuri emphasised the “character assassination” she suffered due to Roopa’s posts. She expressed her distress over the involvement of her family and questioned her ability to fulfill her duties in the state.
Justice Oka questioned Roopa’s justification for making allegations against Sindhuri, especially when she was not involved in any corruption investigation against her. The court emphasised the need to bring an end to the dispute for the sake of the state’s administration.
Earlier, the Karnataka High Court had declined to quash criminal defamation proceedings initiated against IPS officer D Roopa by IAS officer Rohini Sindhuri.
“If the statements posted on a private account (FB) as well as the statements made before the print media are examined, I am more than satisfied that petitioner/accused Roopa is bound to face a criminal trial. The question as to whether the posts made on a Facebook account and the statements made before the print media fall under exceptions is a matter of trial…,” said Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum.
These observations were made by the court in the order dated August 21, while dismissing the petition filed by Roopa, questioning the defamation proceedings initiated by Sindhuri against her. She had filed a case before the magistrate court, seeking Rs 1 crore damages for sharing her photos and posted comments on her FB page for allegedly creating a false image. Roopa’s counsel contended that she was entitled to protection under Section 197 of CrPC, which mandated prior sanction from the competent authority before taking cognisance of the offence against a public servant for acts done in official capacity.
It is not the first time that Roopa is embroiled in controversy involving other officials or her social media posts.
In 2021, D Roopa, who was the first woman home secretary of Karnataka was transferred as the managing director of Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation amid her public spat with another IPS officer Hemant Nimbalkar.
In 2020, she was in the eye of a storm over her comments on bursting firecrackers on Diwali, following which actor Kangana Ranaut had called for her suspension, saying police officials like her were a “shame in the name of police force”.
Roopa had a spat with popular Twitter handle True Indology over the origin of firecrackers and whether they were used in ancient India.
Earlier, the Karnataka government had shifted Sindhuria and Roopa without mentioning their new position owing to embarrassment following a heated public altercation between them.
The quarrel between Roopa and Sindhuri had reached the office of chief secretary Vandita Sharma, with both of them submitting a petition seeking action against each other, and explaining their stance.
The chief secretary had given directions to both officials verbally and in writing, to abide by All India Services Conduct Rules, and they had agreed to it.