Victory for Serum Institute: Bombay High Court Orders Removal of Rs 100 Crore Defamatory Content

adar Poonawala
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Pune/Mumbai, 5th June 2023: The Bombay High Court has issued a directive to two individuals, ordering them to remove defamatory content worth Rs 100 crore from social media platforms. The defamatory content targeted the Serum Institute of India, the manufacturer of the CoviShield vaccine, and its CEO, Adar Poonawala.

Justice Riyaz Chagla disposed of the interim application filed by the Serum Institute of India and Adar Poonawala against social media influencers Yohan Tengra and Amber Kori. The plaintiffs alleged that Tengra and Kori had posted defamatory articles, posts, and videos regarding the side effects of the CoviShield vaccine, targeting Poonawala.
During the court proceedings, senior advocate Aspi Chinoy argued that the defamatory content referred to the plaintiffs as ‘murderers’ and ‘criminals,’ despite their efforts to save millions of lives. He emphasized that personal views should not be propagated on social media platforms in such a manner.

Chinoy further highlighted that, according to official figures, only 12 deaths had been reported out of two crore nineteen lakh doses of Covishield administered. He emphasized that the benefits of the vaccine far outweighed any potential adverse effects.

On the other hand, lawyers for the defendants, Nilesh Ojha and Abhishek Mishra, claimed that one study suggested an increased risk of death and cancer associated with the vaccine. They also mentioned that 21 European countries had banned the product.

In response to the defendants’ arguments, Justice Chhagla pointed out that the vaccine was being administered voluntarily. However, Nilesh Ojha, counsel for the defendants, informed the court that the Maharashtra government had made the vaccine mandatory for citizens to travel on local trains.

The court’s directive serves as a significant step in addressing the spread of defamatory content against the Serum Institute of India and Adar Poonawala on social media platforms. It underscores the importance of responsible communication and the need to verify information before sharing it publicly.


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