Bombay High Court grants interim relief to Indian Express in defamation suit against Sprouts The online news portal made accusations against the editor-in-chief of the group’s Marathi newspaper The Bombay High Court has granted interim relief to the Indian Express Group in Rs.100 crore defamation suit filed by it against the owners of e-paper, Sprouts. The e-paper allegedly published...
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Bombay High Court grants interim relief to Indian Express in defamation suit against Sprouts
The online news portal made accusations against the editor-in-chief of the group’s Marathi newspaper
The Bombay High Court has granted interim relief to the Indian Express Group in Rs.100 crore defamation suit filed by it against the owners of e-paper, Sprouts.
The e-paper allegedly published a defamatory report against Girish Kuber, the Editor-in-Chief of Loksatta, the Marathi newspaper of the Express group.
A bench of Justice Manish Pitale ordered Sprouts (defendants) to delete, take down and remove the defaming news reports from their web page and social media platforms. It also directed the website to refrain from republishing, reposting, uploading, forwarding and/or circulating the offending articles.
The defendant alleged that Kuber attended a lunch with Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and received a gift from Fadnavis. The articles alleged that Kuber compromised the principles of journalism.
The suit also made WhatsApp, Meta Platforms, and Twitter parties to ensure compliance with the orders of the court.
Appearing for the Express Group, Advocate Abhinav Chandrachud, pointed out that apart from claiming that Kuber’s action resulted in comprising the high standards of journalism, no other justification was given in the articles.
Justice Pitale observed there was not even prima facie justification offered by the defendant for publishing the news reports. Also, there were no details about the alleged compromise to the high standards of journalism due to Kuber’s actions.
In the 12-page order, the court stated, “According to the defendant, merely because Kuber, an editor, attended an event hosted by the Deputy Chief Minister, it was enough to make such allegations against the plaintiffs. It is also noted that no material is placed on record on behalf of the defendants to indicate as to the nature of articles or other material allegedly brought into the public domain by the plaintiffs for benefiting the deputy Chief Minister or other politicians as a quid pro quo for having attended the aforesaid event. There does not appear to be any justification placed before this court.”
The judge also ordered that in the event of non-compliance with the directions, the social media intermediaries could be asked to take appropriate steps.
While Advocate Chandrachud conceded that directions pertaining to compliance may not apply to WhatsApp LLC, as individuals sending messages on the platform could perhaps not be controlled due to the nature of its platform, the court accepted the position.
Advocates appearing for the Express group comprised Abhinav Chandrachud, Pranit Kulkarni, Tejaswi Ghag, and Shivam Singh. They were briefed by Poorvi Kamani.
Advocates Vishal Shriyan and Arsalan Thaver appeared for WhatsApp.
Advocates Akash Menon and Bency Ramakrishnan appeared for Meta.
Advocates Alankar Kirpekar and Ayush Tiwari briefed by MAG Legal appeared for Twitter.