Posting adverse review online is not defamation: Madras HC

CHENNAI: Is posting an adverse online review on the services rendered by an advocate wrong or defamatory? Hardly, said Madras high court.
“Internet is a free platform, and it is an important means of expression and communication… mere expressing views in Google Review about the services that were received in my opinion, does not amount to defamation,” said Justice V Sivagnanam.
Writing negative reviews on google about a service received does not constitute criminal defamation of service provider, he said, adding, “such opinions are covered under the freedom of speech.”
The issue pertains to an appeal filed by advocate V P Sarathi challenging an order passed by a judicial magistrate in Coimbatore dismissing his criminal defamation against his clients S Kirthigha and her father V Senthil.
Sarathi said that Kirthigha availed herself of certain legal services from him and then posted an adverse review against him in Google Review, and added that it would amount to defamation.
Opposing the same, the respondents submitted that Kiruthigha expressed her opinion regarding the services she had received from the petitioner-advocate and, according to her, the services rendered by him were not satisfactory.
Thereby, she posted her view in the Google Review page and it does not amount to defamation as alleged by the petitioner, she said.
Justice Sivagnanam said that the court below had rightly observed that the right to free speech expressed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution covered such expression of one’s review on the services received in an online platform and the same would not amount to defaming the petitioner.
In fact, the father of the woman tendered apologies saying the review made by his daughter might have hurt the feelings of the petitioner-advocate. The reviews were also removed later. But, unfortunately, the father was also arrayed as an accused, the court pointed out.
Noting that the court did not find any scope to interfere with the findings of the court below and there is no merit in the revision case in order to entertain the same, the judge dismissed the plea.

Source link

Join The Discussion

Compare listings