Why not answer the queries and remove all doubts? Why suppress the articles? The Sangh Parivar regularly circulates slanderous material against Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, etc, via various fronts on the Net, and does so in the name of free speech. Why can't Messrs Adani refute the allegations contained in these articles by facts and reasonable argument? The habit of silencing critics by threats is a totalitarian practice, no different from other varieties of tyranny. Totalitarian capitalism is an ever-growing reality today and the sooner we realise this the better. DS
what SLAPPs are all about: “A deep-pocketed corporation, developer or government official files a lawsuit whose real purpose is to silence a critic, punish a whistleblower or win a commercial dispute.” What is notable about the Sameeksha Trust’s decision to pull the plug on the two articles is that Adani had only sent them a lawyer’s letter and not filed an actual case despite the expiry of the 48-hour deadline mentioned in the letter. Such legal letters threatening expensive and time-consuming litigation are increasingly being used by large corporations to intimidate editors, proprietors, journalists and writers and prevent them from shining a light on allegations of wrongdoing. In India, companies with deep pockets can not only resort to filing for civil defamation and seeking crores of rupees in damages, they are also free to invoke the law of criminal defamation, under which an accused person can be imprisoned. Last year, a petition to strike down criminal defamation as unconstitutional was rejected by the Supreme Court, making India one of the only democracies in the world to still retain the draconian law on its statute books.