Friday, September 07, 2012

More on NATCO Defamation Suit

On Spicy IP Prashant Reddy has posted here and here a detailed reply to the defamation petition brought by NATCO against Shamnad concerning one of Shamnad's posts on Spicy IP.  The posts are scathing of NATCO's petition and well worth the read. 

One of NATCO's primary complaints seems to be that Shamnad uploaded their petition against Bristel Myers Squibb on Spicy IP (yes, it is not clear how this allegation fits into a defamation suit).  They claim that this is a confidential court document.  Reddy points out that it is very unclear how they can make such a claim.  After all, anyone is allowed to come into a courtroom and hear proceedings in an Indian court.  Why should petitions be privileged?  This certainly is not the general practice in other countries.  In the United States, for example, the American Bar Association puts the briefs of US Supreme Court cases on the web before they are heard.  This is true of many other courts around the world.  And for good reason.  Most citizens cannot attend court proceedings, but they should be able to know what is being argued in court.  I would hope that the Indian courts actually take steps, like others courts have around the world, to upload all court documents - including petitions - wherever possible.  Occasionally a court may feel it has to restrict access to a petition because it involves a minor or trade secrets.  That is fine.  But transparency to the general public should generally be the overriding concern in court proceedings.  

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