The Delhi Court on Wednesday vacated the gag order granted to IIPM founder Arindam Chaudhuri in Rs 50 crore defamation case filed against The Caravan magazine.
Chaudhuri had filed a defamation case for Rs 50 crore against The Caravan in Silchar, Assam, even though both the parties were based in Delhi. The civil court in Silchar had issued an ex-parte gag order to Chaudhuri without providing the magazine an opportunity to be heard and directed it to remove the content in question from its website.
The Caravan had later moved the Supreme Court requesting for the transfer of case to Delhi. The case was later shifted to Delhi High Court before a bench of Justice Manmohan. Seven years later, the Delhi High Court held that the prima facie statements alleged to be defamatory were “either based on the statements made by several persons or on facts available in public domain and/or are the author’s personal opinions and conclusions based on extensive research and report” if the article were to be read as a whole.
Reacting to the High Court’s order, The Caravan said, “The Caravan considers the high court order in favour of dismissing the IIPM application a major victory towards upholding freedom of press. The Caravan, since mid 2015, has been fighting another defamation case from the Essar Group in Gujarat, for an in-depth cover story in the magazine as well as a series of shorter reports published on the web, all of which looked into the functioning of the conglomerate. The Essar group filed a suit in a city civil court in Ahmedabad, and sued the magazine for Rs 250 crore in damages. Since its relaunch in 2010, The Caravan has also received defamation notices from the industrialist Anil Ambani and Swami Aseemanand, the alleged mastermind of a series of terrorist attacks in India.”
The magazine has reproduced the original article written by Siddhartha Deb on the website. You can read the full article here.