VOLUME 1                                                       MAY 2021                                                 ISSUE 2

The Syin & Sern Law Review

SHORT POST

THE CORPORATE PLAINTIFF AND THE DOORMAT DEFENDANT: A DIVE INTO FRIVOLOUS LITIGATION AND THE SUBVERSION OF PUBLIC OPINION

Aishwarya Alla^ 

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DOI

https://doi-ds.org/doilink/06.2021-74738583/SYIN & SERN/V1/I2/A7

 

Abstract

Corporate legal action against public criticism has always been an unfortunate result of India’s laws against defamation, particularly in the civil sense. The country has seen a rise in frivolous litigation, popularly termed as SLAPP suits or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. This paper aims to address the consequences of those legal proceedings and analyse the effects of such on those, often journalists and media houses, that bear the brunt of corporate weight-throwing. Using specific cases and examples, the author would like to demonstrate how the simple fact that the courts do not impose any liability on the defendants named in such suits is not enough to hinder catastrophic financial and social losses that plague the defendant(s). The lack of liability also amounts to the implicit discouragement of vocal disapproval. The author would then postulate that to allay the threat to public participation in the discourse, guidelines that explicitly focus on SLAPP suits must be developed, further providing suggestions for the same.

Referred Citations: 

  1. Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, THE LAW OF TORTS 306 (26th ed. 2010).

  2. Id. at 307.

  3. Subramaniam Swamy v     . Union of India, 2016 (7) SCC 221.

  4. India Const. art. 19, cl. 1(a).

  5. India Const. art. 21.

  6. George W. Pring, SLAPPs: Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation, 7(1) PACE ENVTL. L. REV. 1, 2 (1989).

  7. Id. at 6.

  8. Malcolm Katrak, Curbing Free Speech: Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation in India, 7(1) C.U.L.J. 27, 35 (2018).

  9. Crop. Care Federation of India v     . Rajasthan Patrika (Pvt.) Ltd. and Ors. MANU/DE/3251/2009.

  10. National Stock Exchange of India Limited vs. Moneywise Media Private Limited and Ors. (2015) SCC Online Bom. 4790

  11. Id.

  12. Katrak, supra note 9.

  13. Mahesh Peri, How We Defeated IIPM’s Campaign to Silence the Truth With Defamation Laws, HUFFINGTON POST, Sept. 27, 2016 URL: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/mahesh-peri/how-we-defeated-iipms-campaign-to-silence-the-truth-with-defama_a_21479940/.

  14. Staff Reporter, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Quits as EPW Editor, THE HINDU, JULY 19, 2017 URL: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/paranjoy-guha-thakurta-quits-as-epw-editor/article19302912.ece.

  15. Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, THE LAW OF TORTS 380 (26th ed. 2010).

  16. The Caravan Editors and Publishers, Delhi High Court Vacates Injunction Against The Caravan's IIPM Cover Story; The Magazine Re-Publishes It, THE CARAVAN, FEBRUARY 21, 2018 URL: https://caravanmagazine.in/vantage/delhi-high-court-vacates-injunction-caravans-iipm-cover-story.

  17. Malcolm Katrak, Curbing Free Speech: Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation in India, 7(1) C.U.L.J. 30, 41 (2018).

  18. CAL. CIV. PROC. CODE § 425.16 (West 2004 & Supp. 2006).

  19. supra note 16.

  20. John R. Collins & Denis Dugan, Indemnification Contracts - Some Suggested Problems and Possible Solutions, 50 MARQ. L. REV. 77, 86 (1966).