11 August 2011
Keeping with our promise to update you on the progress of the defamation lawsuit that Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) had filed against The Caravan, we would like to inform you that we had filed a Transfer Petition before the Supreme Court of India asking that the suit be transferred from Silchar to Delhi High Court on the grounds that, except for one party to the suit, all other parties are based in or around Delhi. We are happy to announce that the matter came up for hearing on 8 August 2011. The Supreme Court of India has issued notice to all other parties on our transfer petition and has stayed the proceedings at the civil court in Silchar.
The `500 million lawsuit was filed against The Caravan by one Kishorendu Gupta and the IIPM in response to the profile of Arindam Chaudhuri, IIPM’s Honorary Dean, published in the magazine in February. The profile was written by one of The Caravan’s contributing editors, Siddhartha Deb, a renowned novelist and university professor based in New York, and it was widely acclaimed at the time of its publication for its thorough and even-handed portrayal of Mr Chaudhuri. The suit, which seeks huge damages, has been filed not in Delhi, where both the IIPM and the magazine’s publisher Delhi Press are based, but 2,200km away in Silchar, Assam, 300km from Dispur, Assam’s capital. The IIPM filed the case at the Court of Civil Judge in Silchar through Kishorendu Gupta, who operates Gupta Electrical Engineers in a Silchar suburb, and is plaintiff no. 1. IIPM is the second plaintiff. IIPM has previously filed similar lawsuits against certain other publishers, also from civil courts in small towns of Assam, rather than in Delhi, wherein IIPM managed to obtain ex-parte interim injunctions against publications who attempted to question many of the claims made by the institute in its advertisements and brochures.