Whenever a person voices opinion against another individual or entity, either through the print or electronic media or in any other form, he/she should exercise caution and follow a code of obtaining the remarks of the individual or entity before expressing such opinion, the Madras High Court has said.
Justice C.V. Karthikeyan made the observations while granting an interim injunction restraining YouTuber Savukku Shankar from making defamatory statements against G Square Realtors. The judge granted the injunction following a civil suit filed by the realtor seeking notional damages of over ₹1 crore from him.
The judge said the realtor was seriously aggrieved by various statements made by the defendant against it on social media. Though such statements could be assessed only when they were put to test during the course of trial, the interim injunction was being granted since they would prima facie affect the realtor’s business.
The allegations, prima facie, do not appear to be based on facts and they had not been put to the plaintiff before being levelled in the public domain. Therefore, an interim injunction naturally follows, the judge said and ordered notice to the YouTuber returnable by September 29.
Giving a piece of general advice to everyone, the judge wrote that those who express opinion about others in the media must first put the other person on notice and obtain their remarks before making the allegations public. Thereafter, it must be left to the readers or viewers to form their opinion based on the version of both sides. “Expressing opinions without caution to facts would invite allegations that they are defamatory and only establishes that caution was not prudently exercised by the defendant and that there was intent to defame the plaintiff,” the judge added.