Leading contemporary artist Subodh Gupta has filed a defamation suit against the Instagram account @herdsceneand and sought token damages worth Rs 5 crore for allegedly publishing false and malicious content against him, according to a report by News18.com. Last year, the Instagram handle had shared anonymous #MeToo accounts naming the artist.
The case was filed in the Delhi HC on 18 September and notices were issued to Instagram on restraining the anonymous Instagram handle from posting anything against Gupta until 30 September.
The Delhi High Court passed an ex-parte ad interim injunction directing all social media platforms including Facebook, Google, Instagram to take down posts dealing with the #MeToo allegations against Gupta.
During a hearing before Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw at the Delhi High Court on Monday, the court also instructed all the news websites/ publications which had reported on the #MeToo allegation last year to "remove/take down the defamatory posts/articles/ all content pertaining to the plaintiff [Gupta] and block the URLs and weblinks." The court mentioned a list of 18 URLs of various news publications that covered the story.
"It appears that the allegations as made in the allegedly defamatory contents, cannot be permitted to be made in public domain/published without being backed by legal recourse. The same, if permitted, is capable of mischief," the court said, as quoted by the News18.com report.
In addition to that, Gupta's lawyers have also asked the court to reveal the identity of the person behind the social media handle, in a sealed envelope. The next hearing of the case has been scheduled for 18 November, the News18.com report added.
The copy of the court's order was shared by MeTooIndia on Twitter on 30 September:
UPDATE: Artist Subodh Gupta, who was accused of predatory behaviour during the #MeToo movement, has filed a civil defamation suit against the anonymous Instagram account @herdsceneand pic.twitter.com/6dGBCTo32g
— #MeTooIndia (@IndiaMeToo) September 30, 2019
Allegations against Gupta surfaced on 13 December 2018 when the second wave of #MeToo movement hit India. He had categorically denied all the accusations and called them "false and fabricated." He had also stepped down from the post of guest curator of the then-approaching Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa last year.
An official statement from the festival organisers read: "He has decided to step back and will not be present at the festival, so as not to detract from the collaborative efforts of over 90 projects at the Serendipity Arts Festival this year. Serendipity Arts Foundation supports the #metoo movement and is committed to the safety of all in the workplace and the welfare of the extended Festival community and its participants."
Updated Date: Oct 01, 2019 00:48:04 IST