22 Dec 2022 11:30 AM GMT
The Bombay High Court refused immediate relief to restrain certain individuals in a 100-crore defamation suit by Covishield vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India and its CEO Adar Poonawalla.The court said that the matter was bulky, and it did not have time to hear it at length for interim reliefs and refused to pass a restraining order till then. Justice N. J. Jamadar however, granted...
The court said that the matter was bulky, and it did not have time to hear it at length for interim reliefs and refused to pass a restraining order till then. Justice N. J. Jamadar however, granted SII liberty to approach the vacation court for the same relief.
In the suit, SII claimed that defendant individuals Yohan Tengra and Ambar Koiri had made defamatory posts, articles and videos against Poonawalla regarding the Covishield vaccine.
SII has sought Rs 100 crore as damages and an unconditional apology from the defendants. It has also sought an injunction against social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter to take down the defamatory content and to ensure that no such content is published against SII in the future.
"The said Defamatory Content No. 1 (a YouTube video) consists of around 10,203 views and is nothing short of a smear campaign against the Plaintiffs and their reputation", the plea said.
The defendants filed their response to the suit on Thursday as well as another application seeking prosecution of responsible officers of the SII under section 340 of the Cr.P.C. for suppression of facts in the plaintiff's affidavit.
During the hearing, Advocate Chetan Kapadia sought limited reliefs to restrain the defendants from posting anymore defamatory content.
"The plaintiff is the largest manufacturer. To impute an allegation that someone is a criminal in private communication or in public is not permissible," subsequently he sought to restrain them in the interim.
The counsel appearing for YouTube said that the petition would have to be amended to make the US entity of YouTube a party.
Advocates Nilesh Ojha and Tanveer Nizam for the defendants submitted that the plaintiff was indulging in forum shopping. Ex-parte relief was earlier sought before two benches of the HC which was refused, Ojha said.
Using expletives against the vaccine manufacturer, the defendants claimed that the Covishield vaccine has been banned in 12 countries in the European Union. They added that there was no chance of interim relief till the petition was amended.
"The court is interested in hearing and deciding matters, the court is not interested in all this,' Justice NJ Jamadar said referring to the bickering that happened briefly during the hearing.
Kapadia then sought for limited reliefs for the defendants to be restrained till the matter is heard next. However, the bench said it did not have time to pass an order immediately and showed disinclination to pass any order of injunction without hearing the parties.
The matter will now be heard on January 3, 2023.
Case no. – SL/33253/2022
Case Title – Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. v. Yohan Tengra and Ors.