The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice on a fresh plea byAhistorian and V.D. Savarkar biographer Vikram Sampath alleging a Google document letter signed by various academicians favoring American historian Audrey Truschke’s claims of plagiarism against him is circulating on the internet.
Last month, Sampath had approached the High Court after Truschke and others sent a letter to the Royal Historical Society raising allegations of plagiarism against him with respect to a journal publication and his two-volume biography of Savarkar and some alleged defamatory tweets made with regard to it.
However, Justice Amit Bansal observed that he cannot curtail discussion on the subject in the academic world.
“Your cause of action is qua those who are defaming you. For that you have orders. You can’t get an injunction against thousands of people,” the bench said.
On the argument that Sampath’s reputation of being an academician and a historian is getting affected with the letter, the court said: “There is nothing defamatory about the letter. If she is posting it, there is nothing defamatory in that also. I have heard you enough. There is nothing. I am not inclined. You will keep filing applications here every week. Everyone is free to have their views on the subject. The matter will be heard in the due course.”
On February 24, the court had sought the response of Meta Inc, the parent company of social media giant Facebook, on alleged defamatory content against the historian circulated on the platform.
The same bench had asked Twitter for the removal of several tweets made by Truschke in which plagiarism allegations were made against Sampath in relation to the biography.
Prior to that, the court had restrained Truschke and others from publishing defamatory material against Sampath till April 1 on Twitter and other online or offline platforms.
In the plea, Sampath sought Rs 2 crore in damages from the three historians who have accused him of plagiarism.
Tech journalist Abhishek Baxi, Professor Ashok Swain, Twitter, and the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology are the other respondents in the plea. Sampath’s plea contends that charges against him fall completely flat and are clearly libelous and the same is being done as part of an international smear campaign in order to discredit him because he has shown the academic courage and gumption to challenge the prevailing narrative around a historical figure like Savarkar.