Court restrains entrepreneur from circulating defamatory material against Lavasa

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SummaryPosting on website does not amount to publication of defamatory statement, they argued.

A Pune court has passed an interim order restraining an entrepreneur from publishing or circulating defamatory material against the Lavasa Corporation. Civil Judge, Senior Division, R R Rathi passed the order while hearing a Rs 100-crore suit filed by Lavasa.

Lavasa had alleged that Reji Thomas, director of Jenjon Retail & Services Pvt Ltd, which used to run a cafe on the premises owned by the Lavasa Corporation, was circulating defamatory messages against the company and its project and had prayed the court for directives to stop Thomas from doing this.

Lavasa contended that it had ended the contract with Thomas “upon efflux of time”, which had apparently antagonised Thomas. He then allegedly started a negative online campaign against Lavasa, the suit claimed.

Thomas sent emails to several people abusing Lavasa and posting defamatory articles about it on social media platforms, including Twitter and LinkedIn, it alleged. However, Thomas denied the allegations.

Lavasa in its complaint alleged that Thomas was apparently using various fictional Twitter handles, one of them being LavasaInvestor, to malign its name.

The defendants contended that they had not published any defamatory statements against the company and denied sending e-mails against Lavasa. Posting on website does not amount to publication of defamatory statement, they argued. However, the court noted that sending e-mails to others by attributing defamatory matter to any entity or person and posting such matter on website, which is read by the world at large, did amount to publication of such statement.

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