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Delhi HC orders Twitter to take down Truschke's tweets against Vikram Sampath

Source: PTI
May 04, 2022 18:50 IST
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The Delhi high court has directed Twitter to take down certain defamatory tweets posted by academician Dr Audrey Truschke against historian Vikram Sampath over allegations of plagiarism.

IMAGE: Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman during the launch of the book, Savarkar (part 2): A Contested Legacy, 1924-1966, authored by Vikram Sampath, in New Delhi, September 1, 2021. Photograph: ANI Photo

Justice Amit Bansal, who was dealing with an application by Sampath for removal of the tweets, said that the tweets are defamatory in nature and contain links to the ”very same letters” whose publication was restrained by the court earlier and a prima facie case is made out on behalf of the plaintiff.

 

Sampath's application forms part of his defamation lawsuit against Truschke and others over the allegations of plagiarism against him concerning his work on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

The court noted that in spite of interim orders passed against her, Truschke ”continues to post defamatory material against the plaintiff” on Twitter and has failed to enter an appearance before it.

’A prima facie case is made out on behalf of the plaintiff... In view of the fact that the defendant no.1 (Truschke) has not submitted to the jurisdiction of this court and is not appearing in these proceedings, the defendant no.4/Twitter is directed to take down the following tweets as mentioned in prayer 'a' of the present application,” the court said in its order dated May 2.

”In my view, the tweets with regard to the subject matter of the present application are defamatory in nature and there is a link posted in the said tweets to the very same letters, the publication of which was injuncted by this court vide orders dated 18th February 2022 and 24th February 2022,” it added.

The court also granted four weeks to Truschke to file her reply to the plea.

On February 18, the court, in its interim order passed against academicians Truschke, Dr Ananya Chakrabarti, Dr Rohit Chopra, and others, had restrained the publication of any defamatory material and the letter written to the Royal Historical Society in London alleging plagiarism by Sampath concerning his work on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

The court had issued a summons on the suit and said that the plaintiff historian made out a prima facie case for the grant on ad-interim protection as the content of the letter was damaging his career and reputation.

On February 24 as well, the court had directed Twitter to take down several tweets made by Truschke.

In the plea, the plaintiff has said that he is the author of a critically acclaimed biography of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London but certain defendants wrote to the Society making serious allegations of plagiarism concerning the two-volume biography.

He has claimed that the allegations of plagiarism were baseless considering that the piece contained due citations, attributions, and footnotes and that he is at the receiving end of an ”international smear campaign” to discredit him ”because he has shown the academic courage and gumption to challenge the prevailing narrative around a historical figure like Sh V D Savarkar”.

In the plea filed through lawyer Mukesh Sharma, apart from seeking an injunction against the named individuals, the plaintiff has also sought around Rs 2 crore as damages.

The matter would be heard next on July 28. 

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