Defamation Case: No dossier received or available on record, JNU tells SC

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration told the Supreme Court on Friday it has not received any dossier allegedly depicting the varsity as a “den of organised sex racket”.

The JNU administration said this in an affidavit filed in the apex court which is seized of a petition by a professor challenging the Delhi High Court order setting aside the summons issued to the editor and deputy editor of online news portal ‘The Wire’ in a criminal defamation case over publication of the dossier.

“The affidavit filed by JNU states that on the basis of record maintained by the academic section of JNU, no dossier of the description matching the contents of the petition was received or available on record of the JNU,” a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia noted.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on November 21.

The apex court was hearing a plea by Amita Singh, Professor and Chairperson of the Centre for Study of Law and Governance at the JNU, challenging the March 29 order of the high court.

Singh had made the complaint against several people, including the editor and deputy editor of ‘The Wire’, for allegedly imputing in the April 2016 publication that she had prepared the dossier in question.

In its July 3 order in the matter, the apex court had noted the submissions of Singh’s counsel that the name of the petitioner has come “into a news item attributing that she was signatory to a dossier submitted to the JNU administration while according to her she has nothing to do with any dossier, if at all submitted”.

“We would also like to issue notice to JNU through its Vice Chancellor to verify whether any dossier at all was submitted to the University, and if so, to what effect and by whom, limited to the aforesaid aspect,” the bench had said while issuing notice on her plea against the high court order.

In its order, the high court had said it was unable to discern how the article could be said to have defamed the complainant when it “nowhere says that the respondent (Singh) is involved in the wrongful activities, nor does it make any other derogatory reference to her in connection therewith”.

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” summoning order dated January 7, 2017 made by the metropolitan magistrate in criminal complaint cannot be sustained in law, and is accordingly quashed and set aside,” the high court had ordered.

The complainant had argued before the lower court that the accused persons had launched a hate campaign against her to malign her reputation.

The editor and deputy editor of ‘The Wire’ had challenged the summoning order before the high court on the ground that there was no material on record on the basis of which the magistrate could have summoned them.

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