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A Year After #MeToo, Artist Subodh Gupta Files Defamation Suit Against Anonymous Instagram Handle

During a hearing on Monday, Gupta provided a list of URLs that he claimed contained alleged defamatory content and sought an injunction to block access to them. He also sought "token" damages of Rs 5cr.

Adrija Bose | News18.com

Updated:September 30, 2019, 11:29 PM IST
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A Year After #MeToo, Artist Subodh Gupta Files Defamation Suit Against Anonymous Instagram Handle
File photo of artist Subodh Gupta.

New Delhi: Almost a year after a series of anonymous sexual harassment allegations were made against artist Subodh Gupta, he has filed a defamation suit against Instagram account HerdSceneAnd for allegedly publishing false, malicious and defamatory content.

During a hearing before Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw at the Delhi High court on Monday, Gupta provided a list of URLs that he claimed contained alleged defamatory content and sought an injunction to block access to them. The leading Indian contemporary artist also sought "token" damages of Rs 5 crore (Rs. 50 million).

The court directed Google to take down a list of URLs from its search results which report on the sexual harassment allegations against Gupta within the next 48 hours. Instagram was also directed to provide details of the "person/entity" running the account to the court in a "sealed cover".

"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.

The suit was first listed on September 18, 2019, when the Delhi High Court passed an ex-parte ad interim injunction directing that the posts on the HerdSceneAnd dealing with the sexual harassment accusations against Gupta be taken down.

The counsel appearing on behalf of Facebook told the Court that they will comply with the Court's order and take down the Instagram posts as well as provide details of the person/entity behind the HerdSceneAnd Instagram handle by the next date of hearing.

When the allegations first came to light, Gupta had denied them and had stepped down from his position as the guest curator of the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa.

"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," the statement from the festival read.

The case has been now re-notified for November 18.

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