New Delhi, October 29: A Delhi court has directed search-engine giant Google and social media conglomerate Facebook to block alleged defamatory videos against Modicare Limited, a direct selling company.
Senior Civil Judge Vikrant Vaid granted relief to Modicare and restrained Ramila Rana, a former consultant who is now working for a competing company, and a person named Satyapal Singh who runs a Youtube channel called “Satya Hunkar” from making any further unverified and unsubstantiated statements against Modicare or repeating or republishing the statements made in the defamatory videos forming the subject matter of the suit.
The court on Tuesday also directed the two tech behemoths to block the existing defamatory videos posted on their platforms until the next date of hearing and listed the matter for November 7, Business World reported.
Modicare had approached the court with a civil suit through advocates Naman Joshi and Kunal Srivastava after allegedly being aggrieved by “defamatory” videos posted by Ramila Rana and Satyapal Singh defaming the company.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, arguing for Modicare, said that Modicare is a leading company and enjoys a stellar reputation and goodwill in society. He also contended that the false statements made in the defamatory videos have a direct and severe impact on the company’s reputation.
Aggarwal cited numerous precedents where courts, including the High Court of Delhi, had restrained publication of defamatory content on online platforms to protect the right to reputation of the defamed person and ordered the takedown of the defamatory content including where social media had been resorted to by known or unknown persons to defame companies or hurt their businesses and goodwill.
He also laid down great emphasis on how social media had given people a free pass to defame online with little fear of consequences despite the legal regime being potent and flexible enough to deal with it. He argued that the right to free speech cannot mean a citizen can defame others and said protection of reputation is a right that inheres in both natural and legal persons.
Agarwal said the theory of absoluteness of the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression is not countenanced by the Constitution of India and Article 19(1)(a) is itself restricted by Article 19(2) – defamation is one of the grounds for restriction of speech.