Blogging, which first took off in the latter half of the 1990s, has since been used as a unique platform for people to share their thoughts, feelings, experiences and opinions.
Many blogs provide commentaries on several subjects and allow readers to comment. Such blogs give an opportunity to people to read about various subjects. They represent the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. Blogs are a medium of educating the masses. Articles by bloggers are very informative and explain various subjects in layman’s terms.
In the past couple of years there has been a spate of suits of defamation against bloggers. These suits have been instituted by the companies or institutions against whom views have been expressed by bloggers.
A suit for defamation has been filed against Shamnad Basheer, founder of SpicyIP, a blog pertaining to Indian Intellectual Property law and policy. Mr. Basheer is an IP academic and consultant. The suit was instituted by NATCO Pharmaceuticals for publishing libelous articles on the blog against NATCO. The case is still going on and no decision has yet been given. The article in question covers patent infringement by NATCO, and the author, Shamnad Basheer, has put down his views regarding the infringement.
Another blogger has been served a legal notice by the Times Publishing House Ltd. for publishing an article regarding an ongoing litigation. Ms. Lath’s (the blogger in question) post had referenced and summarized a number of articles which appeared in the Mint about the dispute.
The parties who are alleging defamation are all big names in their respective fields. The articles that have been published in both these cases, have opined on the respective parties’ on going matters, that the parties may not have wanted the public to know. The question before the courts is whether entertaining such suits may amount to contravention of Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution.