Online news portal gets relief in defamation case filed by JNU professor
In 2017, Singh filed a criminal defamation case against The Wire, its editor Siddharth Varadrajan and reporter Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta.
Published: 30th March 2023 08:33 AM | Last Updated: 30th March 2023 08:33 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday quashed a summoning order issued by a trial court against online news portal The Wire in a criminal defamation case filed by a former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor, Amita Singh.
In 2017, Singh filed a criminal defamation case against The Wire, its editor Siddharth Varadrajan and reporter Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta. Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, who was hearing the matter, said that there was no material before the magistrate to support the summoning order.
“As a sequitur to the above, summoning order dated 07.01.2017 made by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate in criminal complaint bearing C.C. No. 32203/2016 cannot be sustained in law; and is accordingly quashed and set aside,” the order said.
Justice Bhambhani also noted that the publication neither claimed that Singh was involved in any wrongdoing nor did it speak of the respondent (Singh) in any derogatory, derisive, or denigrating terms. “This court is unable to discern, therefore, as to how the subject publication can be said to have defamed the respondent,” the order read.
According to Singh’s contentions, Mahaprastha’s article published in The Wire in April 2016 was titled ‘Dossier Calls JNU Den of Organised Sex Racket: Students, Professors Allege Hate Campaign’. The story published by the news portal states that a group of JNU professors compiled a 200-page dossier calling the university a ‘den of organised sex racket’.
The dossier, however, was titled ‘Jawaharlal Nehru University: The Den of Secessionism and Terrorism’ according to The Wire and it was stated that Singh, who is a professor at the Centre for Law and Governance, was leading the group of teachers that prepared the report.
The Wire’s story read that the report in question was submitted to the university’s administration and that it accused some of its teachers of encouraging a decadent culture in JNU and legitimising separatist movements in India.