Skip to main content

Adanis "lose" defamation case against Wire, ex-EPW editor Thakurta, court asks portal to remove a sentence, an adverb

By Our Representative
In what is seen a victory for the top news portal "The Wire", which republished  an article by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and three other journalists from the "Economic and Political Weekly" (EPW), "Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group", Principal Senior Civil Judge Jaiminkumar R Pandit, Bhuj, Kutch, deciding on the interim application, has "rejected" the defamation plea against the publishers and authors of the article, even as directing them to remove a sentence and a word from it.
Sub-titled "The government has quietly tweaked rules relating to special economic zones – and the new rules specifically favour the Adani Group" (June 17, 2017), the sentence of the article which the civil judge ordered to be removed is, "The High Court was misled and wrongly recorded the customs duty on electricity from the SEZ to DTA will not be maintainable as this will lead to double taxation", and also the adverb "Surprisingly" in the same paragraph, as the allegation lacked "verification."
Delivered on November 16 this year, though surprisingly went unnoticed despite the high profile nature of the case, the order said, except this "direction", all the prayers of personal defamation against the publishers and the authors were being "rejected". As the EPW had already withdrawn the controversial article from its site following the defamation law suit, the direction pertained to "The Wire", which refused to withdraw the republished article.
Complying by the order, "The Wire" said, in its endnote to the article, "The Wire had contested the application for injunction moved by M/s Adani Power Limited, regarding the article titled 'Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group'. The Ld Principal Senior Civil Judge (Bhuj-Kacch) has accepted all 'The Wire’s' contentions in the said application and has only ordered removal of one line pertaining to a High Court decision as well as one adverb."
The news portal added, "'The Wire' is complying with the Ld Principal Senior Civil Judge’s order dated November 16, 2017 and removing the said sentence and adverb", even as upholding the order. It is not known if the Adani Group would approach a higher judiciary against the Bhuj court order.
The order on the Adani defamation case comes alongside a major setback suffered by the son of BJP president Amit Shah, Jay, who filed a Rs 100 crore defamation case against "The Wire" for an article on meteoric rise ("16,000 times") in his business activities following the party's ascension to power at the Centre in 2014. The civil court, Mirzapur, Ahmedabad, vacated the "ex parte ad interim injunction" imposed on the news portal by it in October.
Rejecting the Adanis' plea, the court, in its written order, observed that that a questionnaire and an email were sent to the Adani Group before publishing the article, and that the article was published "upon material available", hence the article "cannot be said to be defamatory", and hence "there is no prima facie case."
The article became controversial not just because it had sought to placate one of the top Indian business groups, widely regarded as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Soon after Adani Group filed its defamation case, the EPW withdrew the article from its online portal, making Thakurta, the main author, resign from his post as editor of the top research journal.
Reporting on the withdrawal of the article on the EPW, "The Wire", which republished the article, not only declared that it would not take down the article, but commented, "Worried about the threat of an expensive lawsuit by one of India’s biggest corporate houses, the trustees running the journal (EPW) ordered the removal of an article critical of Adani Power Ltd."
"The Wire" decided to fight the law suit filed by the Adani Group along with the article's authors, who included Abir Dasgupta, EPW editorial assistant, and two independent journalists Advait Rao Palepu and Shinzani Jain. Sarim Naved, advocate for "The Wire" and the authors of the article, said, "Only the interim application has been decided. The suit remains to be fought."

Comments

Unknown said…
Atleast judiciary is there to protect democracy and some Judge have strong ethics for their duty to protect constitution from the clutches of crony capitalist and BJP.
Anonymous said…
Kudos to THE WIRE for daring to against the mighty corporate group involved in the matter. Alas! the trustees of EPW, that includes the likes of Romila Thapar, could not muster enough courage to stand with Paranjoy Gujarat Thakurta
- Murali Krishna M S, Bengaluru
শিবু said…
Kudos to The WIRE. And shame on EPW Trustees for letting down EPW.
Uma said…
Good for The Wire. What is EPW going to do now? They should reinstate such a good journalist or they will be the losers.

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen