Sunday, December 3, 2023

Delhi HC quashes summons against ‘The Wire’ on complaint of JNU professor

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday quashed summons issued by a lower court in a criminal defamation case filed against news website The Wire by Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Amrita Singh.

The professor had filed the case against The Wire and its editors Siddharth Bhatia and Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta in 2016.

Singh had claimed that an article by Mahaprashasta that year had claimed that the professor had prepared a dossier allegedly depicting JNU as a ‘den of organised sex racket.’

The professor had alleged that the article wrongly used her name in the dossier and that the editors at The Wire had not verified the authenticity of it.

On Wednesday, Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani of the High Court quashed the trial court’s order, saying there was no material before the magistrate based on which the summoning order could have been passed.

“…. the aforesaid caption only says that the dossier called JNU a “den of organised sex racket”, but nothing in the extract says anything against the respondent [Singh] herself, much less anything that could be taken to be defamatory of the respondent,” read the order.

The court went on to say: “All that was stated in the article was that the respondent had led a team of persons, who had compiled a dossier, which dossier purported to expose certain wrongdoing at JNU…The subject publication did not say that the respondent was involved in any wrongdoing; nor did it speak of the respondent in any derogatory, derisive or denigrating terms.”

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