Head of controversial management institute network Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) Arindam Chaudhari today defended his company's decision to seek legal action and block web pages critical of his organisation, and claimed he would continue to sue people who worked against his business interests.
"Freedom of speech is in its place...But if its defamatory it's got to go. That's the way it is across the world," Chaudhari said in a panel discussion on Sagarika Ghose's show Face the Nation on CNN-IBN that was aired today.
The head of the management institute network said that the IT Act allowed him to challenge defamatory material against the institutes, and accused his competitors of hiring people to click on defamatory material against him on the internet in order to get it ranked higher in search results.
The Department of Telecom had issued an order which asked Internet service providers (ISPs) to block over 73 urls which had articles that were critical of IIPM and its director Arindam Chaudhuri.
Chaudhari said the removal of a UGC web page which contained a notice highlighting that it had not granted university status to IIPM was justified.
"There are thousands of universities in the country that are not universities but the UGC does not put out advertisements saying they are not universities," Chaudhari said.
He said that his institute was being unfairly targeted and would take anyone to court if that happened.
A combative Chaudhari also took on fellow panelists like blogger Shivam Vij and Maheshwari Peri from the Career 360 website. At one point he even said the blogger should be hanged.
"If my business gets affected then I am willing to go to court," Chaudhari said.
When asked about students agitating against his institute in the past, the head of the IIPM institutes said that there was no problem with any of his institutes any more.
"We have picked up points in the article which are clearly defamatory. Siddhartha could have taken those defamatory points out of the book and then released it if he wanted," Chaudhari said, when asked why he had filed a case against magazine Caravan for publishing an excerpt from a book written Siddhartha Deb.
Chaudhari said that he was not responsible for blocking all the web pages, and said that it was a channel partner who had blocked a page from satirical website Unreal Times.
"Please go to the internet and fill it up. If you say Arindam Chaudhari is ugly and has a bad sense of dressing, I will not say anything. But if you say anything to harm my business then I will sue you," Chaudhari said.
However, while Chaudhari stoutly defended his actions, cyber law expert Pawan Duggal pointed out that this case only highlighted the need for amendments in the existing IT Act.
The law currently does not give you an opportunity to challenge a blocking order and to revive your website once the blocking order is removed, Duggal said.