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Government to challenge IIPM verdict in a Gwalior court today

Feb 28, 2013 , ,

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Government to challenge IIPM verdict in a Gwalior court todayGwalior: A district court in Gwalior could decide today whether to un-block more than 70 URLs or web-pages, critical of entrepreneur Arindham Chaudhari and his business schools.

In January, the court had passed an injunction asking the Information and Technology Ministry to remove or block all web-pages defamatory of Mr Chaudhari's IIPM (Indian Institute of Planning and Management). The government followed the order so vigorously that it ended up blocking a webpage on the website of the University Grants Commission or UGC, the regulator for higher education. The page carried a warning that IIPM is not recognized as a university and cannot confer degrees on students.

Today, the government will challenge the court's verdict, which created a massive online fury about both Mr Chaudhari and the decision in his favour.

Many felt free speech had been compromised, setting a perilous precedent. Especially worrying was that none of the publishers whose pages were blocked were either informed of the ban or given a chance to defend themselves in court.

Mr Chaudhari has said he has no compunction about the lawsuit because it sought to protect his business and him from defamation. But his defense is somewhat strangled by the fact that he appears to have used a proxy server for his case - a businessman named Ruchir Sharma, who runs an IIPM affiliate in Dabra, 40 kms from Gwalior. Mr Sharma has said in his court petition that defamatory online content about IIPM was affecting his business.

The fact that the case was filed in a small-town court, Mr Chaudhari's detractors say, reeks of an attempt to prohibit publishers from offering their side of the story, or challenging the injunction or restraining order.

(Courtesy by : NDTV Updates)

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