Telangana District Court directed The Wire to remove 14 articles it published by it that were critical of Bharat Biotech, the maker of the Covaxin vaccine.
The order was passed by an Additional District Judge at Ranga Reddy District Court, reported Bar and Bench.
Bharat Biotech had filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against the news portal, and along with taking down the articles, the court has also restrained The Wire from publishing any defamatory articles on the pharma major and the vaccine.
The suit not only named the publisher of the Wire, Foundation for Independent Journalism, The Wire’s editors Siddharth Varadarajan, Siddharth Bhatia and MK Venu, as well as nine authors of articles. These included Vasudevan Mukunth, Priyanka Pulla, Banjot Kaur and Neeta Sanghi.
The Wire Articles Contained False Allegations Against Bharat Biotech
LiveLaw reported that the counsel for Bharat Biotech had argued that the articles contained false allegations against Bharat Biotech and Covaxin and were intended to malign the company’s reputation.
“The Wire published several articles making false statements without proper fact check about the regulatory approvals granted to Bharat Biotech. Even after the Government of India had approved the vaccine, articles continued to be published otherwise on The Wire,” the court said, according to LiveLaw. The court added that Bharat Biotech is the only one authorised to manufacture vaccines for children between the ages of 15 and 18, and that the articles in question will lead to vaccine hesitancy.
The Wire asked to remove 14 Critical Articles
“I am of the considered opinion that in order to avoid multiplicity of proceedings, this is a fit case to dispense with the issuance of prior notice before ordering ad-interim injunction directing the respondents from further publishing any defamatory articles regarding the petitioner and its product Covaxin. Hence, prior notice is dispensed with,” the court said in the order, reported LiveLaw. The order, according to LiveLaw is ad interim — or temporary, and is ex parte.
The suit is filed before XVI Additional District Judge, Rangareddy Court. Senior Counsel K. Vivek Reddy, appearing for the Petitioner/Plaintiff Bharat Biotech argued that The Wire had published articles on its website with false allegations against Bharat Biotech and COVAXIN without there being any truth and