Delhi HC Lifts Injunction Against The Caravan’s 2011 Story on IIPM
“The Caravan considers the HC order a major victory towards upholding freedom of press,” the magazine said.
The Delhi High Court on Friday, 16 February, lifted an injunction against The Caravan's 2011 story titled 'Sweet Smell of Success', which was a profile of Arindam Chaudhari, ex-honorary dean of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), authored by the magazine's contributing editor and author Siddhartha Deb.
Following the High Court order, the magazine wrote:
The Caravan considers the High Court order in favour of dismissing the IIPM application a major victory towards upholding freedom of press...It is our belief at The Caravan that we must defend the right of journalists to report on any subjects or persons without undue fear of legal intimidation from powerful entities or organisations that seek to insulate themselves from criticism.
Soon after the story appeared in 2011, a civil defamation suit was filed by IIPM, in which it sought damages worth Rs 500 million, The Caravan reported. Moreover, the lawsuit was filed at the Court of Civil Judge in Assam's Silchar.
In its lawsuit, IIPM had taken the proceedings not just against Deb, and the editors and publishers of The Caravan, but also against Penguin and Google India. Penguin was reportedly the publisher of Deb's book which was supposed to carry the story in question.
After IIPM was granted preliminary injuction by the Silchar court – which compelled The Caravan to take down the story – the magazine approached the Supreme Court with a transfer petition. The apex court then ordered a stay on the Civil Court proceedings and the matter was then transferred to the Delhi High Court on 11 August 2015.
According to The Caravan, the Delhi HC, in its 16 February order, regarded the alleged defamatory statements in the story as prima facie "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.”
Though the magazine says that the article can now be read on its website, one cannot seem to access it at the moment. Instead of showing the article, the link comes with a notice saying, "Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India".
With the HC lifting the gag order, The Caravan also hailed its publisher Delhi Press as being "at the forefront of defending the right to freedom of speech and freedom of press during its 75 years of publishing history."
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