Delhi HC blocks academics from publishing letter accusing Savarkar’s biographer of plagiarism

The Delhi High Court on Friday banned four academics and a journalist from publishing a letter accusing historian Vikram Sampath of plagiarism over his two-volume biography of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The court also said the defendants would not post anything defamatory against him on any platform, online or offline.

The letter written by American academics Dr Audrey Truschke, Dr Ananya Chakrabarti and Dr Rohit Chopra on February 11 was addressed to the Royal Historical Society of which Dr Sampath is a member. They asked the society to subject all of Sampath’s work to close scrutiny.

Seeking damages of Rs 2 crore and 100 rupees and a permanent injunction against the defendants, Sampath in his petition said the letter was part of an “international libel campaign” to discredit him because he “shown academic courage and temerity to challenge the dominant narrative around a historical figure.” The court was told that he had given references to the work of other scholars whenever these were mentioned.

After hearing from Sampath’s lawyer on Friday, Judge Amit Bansal said he made a prima facie case for granting an interim injunction and that the continued publication of the letter had caused “considerable harm” to his reputation. and his career.

Twitter told the court it was only an intermediary and would remove any tweets if ordered by the court. The court, however, said it was not issuing any instructions to the microblogging site at this stage. He also refused to pass any deletion orders for two tweets from journalist Abhishek Baxi and academic Ashok Swain, but stopped them from publishing the letter or anything libelous against Sampath.

Lawyer Jawahar Raja, representing Chakrabarti, argued that Sampath referenced some of the articles, “but when you actually borrow the whole idea, the type of reference will determine whether it is plagiarism or not.” When Raja objected to passing the interim order, the court said it was not asking the academics to withdraw the letter at this stage.

The court will hear the lawsuit on April 1. In the meantime, he demanded answers from the defendants.

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