1. For a deeply researched and conceptually and historically insightful examination of the harms done by India’s law of criminal defamation, see Rajeev Dhavan, “Private Lives and Public Reputations: Career and Prospects of the Law of Defamation in India,” Chapter Four in his collection of essays, Censorship and Intolerance in India (New Delhi, Tulika Books, 2008). The chapter also deals with the confusions and problems that arise in the civil law of defamation, including the proliferating resort to court injunctions or ‘gag orders’ and SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) actions.
  2. See P.D. T. Achary (a former Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha), “Making sense of the disqualification of a Lok Sabha MP,” lead article in The Hindu, March 27, 2023: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/making-sense-of-the-disqualification-of-a-lok-sabha-mp/article66665189.ece; and Kapil Sibal (senior lawyer and Member of the Rajya Sabha), “Rahul defamation case: Amend law to protect MPs, MLAs,” op-ed in The New Indian Express, March 27, 2023: https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/2023/mar/27/rahul-defamation-case-amend-law-to-protect-mps-mlas-2559784.html
  3. Kapil Sibal, cited in footnote 2: https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/2023/mar/27/rahul-defamation-case-amend-law-to-protect-mps-mlas-2559784.html; and S.N. Sahu, “Twists and turns in Rahul Gandhi’s Defamation Trial,” NewsClick.in, March 24, 2023: https://www.newsclick.in/twists-and-turns-rahul-gandhis-defamation-trial
  4. Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India, (2016) 7 SCC 221: https://main.sci.gov.in/judgment/judis/44579.pdf
  5. Rajeev Dhawan in the book cited above, page 103.
  6. Gautam Bhatia, “Why the Supreme Court ruling on criminal defamation bodes ill for the future of free speech in India,” Scroll.in, May 14, 2016: https://scroll.in/article/808115/why-the-supreme-court-ruling-on-criminal-defamation-bodes-ill-for-the-future-of-free-speech-in-india; and “A blow against free speech,” The Hindu, May 16, 2016: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/a-blow-against-free-speech/article14321176.ece1
  7. Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India, (2016) 7 SCC 221: https://main.sci.gov.in/judgment/judis/44579.pdf
  8. Gautam Bhatia, cited above: https://scroll.in/article/808115/why-the-supreme-court-ruling-on-criminal-defamation-bodes-ill-for-the-future-of-free-speech-in-india
  9. Rajeev Dhavan, “On Defamation, Macaulay Has the Last Laugh on India,” The Wire, June 2, 2016: https://thewire.in/law/on-defamation-macaulay-has-the-last-laugh-on-india
  10. (1972) 2 SCC 680: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/10089/
  11. N. Ravi and Others v Union of India and Others, reported in (200) 15 SCC 631; also see https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/58117f6a2713e1794791f68c
  12. https://thewire.in/law/on-defamation-macaulay-has-the-last-laugh-on-india
  13. See “Anti-defamation law: Rajiv Gandhi’s failed attempt at curbing Press freedom,” The Indian Express, April 3, 2018: https://indianexpress.com/article/research/fake-news-order-smriti-irani-narendra-modi-anti-defamation-rajiv-gandhi-press-freedom-5121884/; Joseph Maliakan & Lek Hor Tan, “Victory for press freedom,” Index on Censorship, 9/88: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03064228808534528; and “Analyzing the Defamation Bill, 1988,” iPleaders blog, October 25, 2021: https://blog.ipleaders.in/analyzing-the-defamation-bill-1988/