Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai will now have to face criminal defamation case filed by a company, with the Supreme Court on Monday disposing of her plea seeking clarification whether a private firm can file a criminal defamation case citing a recent judgement.
Pillai, against whom Mahan Coal Ltd has filed a criminal defamation case for allegedly carrying out negative publicity and protests over purported irregularities in mining activities, has said that the company can have a civil remedy but not a criminal recourse.
A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit said nothing remained in the matter as the judgement has already been delivered in the case. The court also granted liberty to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who sought intervention in Pillai’s plea to file a fresh petition.
Pillai, in her petition, had said “a corporate entity cannot be imprisoned for criminal defamation and can only be fined. As such in the interest of Article 14 and equality before the law, it should be able to seek damages, not imprisonment”.