28 June 2022 21:24
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Indian Court asks Twitter to take down several tweets made by controversial academic Audrey Truschke

Sampath also sought a decree of damages of Rs 2,00,00,100 in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants.

India’s Delhi High Court has asked microblogging site Twitter to take down several tweets made by controversial academic Audrey Truschke in which plagiarism allegations were made against author and historian Vikram Sampath in relation to a two-volume biography of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

The bench of Justice Amit Bansal also sought the response of Meta Inc, the parent company of social media platform Facebook, on an application filed by Vikram Sampath alleging defamatory content has been circulated on the platform. Advocate Raghav Awasthi and Advocate Mukesh Sharma appeared for plaintiff Vikram Sampath.

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Earlier, in an interim order court had restrained several historians including controversial American academic Audrey Truschke, Ananya Chakravarti, Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University, and Rohit Chopra, Associate Professor of Communications at Santa Clara University, from publishing any defamatory content (online and offline) about Vikram Sampath and observing that the plaintiff has made a prima facie case.

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Recently controversial academic Audrey Truschke and others have accused Vikram Sampath of plagiarism and wrote a letter dated February 11, 2022, to the Royal Historical Society (RHS) in London and made serious allegations of plagiarism against Sampath with respect to his two-volume biography of Savarkar. Sampath is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Justice Bansal earlier noted that the continued publication of said letter has been causing considerable damage to the plaintiff’s reputation and career. Court further asked the counsel for the plaintiff to supply a copy of the plaint to the defendants and sought their response within four weeks.

The court fixed the date for April 1, for further hearing in the matter.

The Court is presently hearing a civil suit filed by Vikram Sampath against other historians who made alleged defamatory tweets against him. Sampath also sought a decree of damages of Rs 2,00,00,100 in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants.

The petition stated that the said letter makes it clear that the allegation against the plaintiff is that in an essay written for the journal, the plaintiff has plagiarised from an essay written by one Vinayak Chaturvedi.

It is submitted that the said allegation is quite absurd inasmuch as a perusal of the article in question would clearly establish beyond all reasonable doubt that Vinayak Chaturvedi has been cited. References are there in the article and have given extensive and exhaustive footnotes in the book. The relevant extract has been reproduced, as stated in the petition.

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It further added that the alleged defamatory letter in question is being quoted extensively on the platform of the microblogging site Twitter by various unscrupulous elements and Twitter users. It is clear that the same is part of the motivated smear campaign against the plaintiff and each and every time the defamatory material is being retweeted, a new cause of action arises.

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