Files Rs.500-million lawsuit; Delhi Press, the publisher of The Caravan decides to fight the suit.
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | June 23, 2011
It was Arindam chaudhary, Dean, IIPM that made it to third rank of Twitter trends yesterday.Â Â The reason being theÂ Rs 500-million lawsuit filed againstÂ The Caravan magazine, citing âgrave harassment and injuryâ. This is an action taken againstÂ a cover story done by the magazine inÂ Â Â February 2011 issue, titled- âSweet Smell of Success: How Arindam Chaudhuri Made a Fortune Off the Aspirationsâand Insecuritiesâof Indiaâs Middle Classesâ, written by Siddhartha Deb, contributing editor,Â The Caravan.
TheÂ lawsuit againstÂ the magazine has been filed in the Court of Civil Judge in Silchar district, Assam wherein Kishorendu Gupta, who operates Gupta Electrical Engineers in a Silchar suburb, and is the first plaintiff and IIPM is the second plaintiff. BesidesÂ The Caravan and its proprietors, the suit charges Siddhartha Deb, Penguin (the publisher of the upcoming book by Deb in which the article is a chapter), and Google India (which, the suit alleges, has been âpublishing, distributing, giving coverage, circulating, blogging the defamatory, libelous and slanderous articlesâ).
InÂ the past also IIPM had filed similar lawsuits against Rashmi Bansal, a blogger and editor ofÂ Just Another Magazine (JAM) in 2005 who published an article in print and online questioning many of the claims made by the IIPM in its brochures and advertisements, which highlighted that the IIPM had not been accredited by any Indian agency such as AICTE, UGC or under other state acts. The IIPM filed a case against Bansal from Silchar, Assam, even though she runs a small independent outfit based in Mumbai. The IIPM managed to get an ex-parte order from the court, forcing Bansal to remove the article from the website. The IIPM also filed for damages.Â And also in 2009, against Maheshwar Peri, publisher ofÂ Outlook magazine, who carried an article titled âIIPM - Best only in claims?
TheÂ sum and substance of the petition is thatÂ The Caravan has published a false, incorrect, defamatory and libelous article and has made false imputations against the IIPM, which, the petition says, the author and editors ofÂ The Caravan knew to be false, and that these were made with the intention to defame the IIPM institute as well as its councilors like Kishorendu Gupta.
However ifÂ IIPM can demonstrate that any errors of fact have been made,Â The Caravan will print a correction in the magazine as well as on its website. But the vast majority of the âfalsehoodsâ cited in the legal suit are not based on matters of fact, and the objections merely reflect the discomfort of the IIPM with the language employed to describe the facts.
Reacting on the development, an official communiquĂ© from The Caravan said, âThe Caravan intends to fight this suit because we believe that we must defend the right of journalists to report on controversial subjects or persons without undue fear of legal intimidation from powerful entities or organisations that seek to insulate themselves from criticism. Delhi Press, the publisher ofÂ The Caravan and many popular titles likeÂ Sarita,Â Womanâs Era,Grihshobha andÂ Mukta, has time and again been at the forefront of defending the right to freedom of speech and freedom of press during its 70 years of publishing history. On account of the bold anti-authoritarian and anti-religious obscurantist articles published in its leading socio-political magazine in Hindi,Â Sarita, the group has successfully fought all attempts of legal intimidation over the years.â
As of now, civil court in Silchar has granted IIPM a preliminary injunction, enablingÂ Delhi Press to remove the article in question from its website, without any pre-hearing notice.