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SLAPP suits and Injunctions

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source: IE

 Context: The Supreme Court has cautioned courts against the use of SLAPP suits by powerful entities to curb free speech, particularly in cases involving media platforms and civil society.


What are SLAPP suits?

SLAPP suits, or Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation, are legal actions filed by entities, such as corporations or individuals, with the intent to intimidate or silence critics, typically activists, journalists, or members of the public, by burdening them with costly legal proceedings.

E.g., In 2000, the Tata Group filed a SLAPP suit against environmental activist Dr. Claude Alvares and others for publishing a book critical of the company’s activities.


What is the case here?

In a recent order, the Court set aside injunctions against Bloomberg Television Services India Pvt Ltd, emphasizing the need to balance free speech rights with reputational concerns in defamation suits. The Court highlighted the potential misuse of pre-trial injunctions to stifle public debate and underscored the importance of exceptional caution in granting such injunctions.


What are Injunctions?

An injunction in India is a legal remedy used to prevent a party from carrying out a specific action, such as intellectual property infringement or breach of contract. It is a court order requiring a party to do or cease certain actions and plays a crucial role in legal battles. Violating an injunction can result in contempt of court charges.

An ex-parte injunction, issued without hearing from the other party, is granted in emergency situations to prevent irreparable harm.