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YouTuber, who alleged that RSS-affiliated Seva Bharati Trust wants to eradicate Christians, ordered to pay ₹50 lakhs for defamation by Madras High Court

Surender alleged that the Trust, associated with the RSS, aimed to "eradicate the Christian community." The Court observed that the video's contents were defamatory and lacked merit.

On 6th March, the Madras High Court ordered a YouTuber Surender alias Naathikan to pay ₹50 lakh as damages to Seva Bharati Trust for defamatory content. Seva Bharati is a service-oriented organisation affiliated with the RSS. Justice N Satish Kumar passed this order as the YouTuber was accused of making derogatory remarks against the trust. The YouTuber had linked the trust with the custodial death of two Christian men in 2020. While pronouncing the verdict, the court said that no one can use their constitutional freedom of speech and expression to invade the privacy of others or mar their reputation.

The court said, “Merely, under the pretext of freedom of expression, one cannot make an interview intruding the privacy of others, the Law does not give such absolute license to the YouTubers and the social media to spoil the reputation of others. Therefore, this Court cannot shut its eyes when such false allegations are circulated targeting innocent persons.”

The High Court further said, “Circulating statements nowadays are used as a tool to blackmail the people. Unless it is discouraged in the initial stage, there will not be an end and every black mailer may use the social media platform to blackmail others by spreading false and unnecessary news.”

The court’s decision stemmed from a petition filed by Seva Bharati, which sought damages and injunctions against Surender for making defamatory remarks. Seva Bharati approached the court to seek relief and restrain Surender from making any further defamatory statements against it. The trust informed the Court that despite having no involvement in the deaths of two Christian men, P Jayaraj and his son Bennix, and that it was widely acknowledged that the duo died while in police custody, Surender made baseless accusations against the organisation in a YouTube video.

Surender alleged that the Trust, associated with the RSS, aimed to “eradicate the Christian community.” The Court observed that the video’s contents were defamatory and lacked merit. Consequently, it ruled that the Trust was unquestionably eligible to seek damages.

The court said in the order, “Though the exact amount of damages in terms of monetary damages cannot be ascertained portraying the plaintiff in a bad light with allegations that their aim is only to eliminate the Christian community is nothing but serious allegations which not only causes damage to reputation but will have a serious impact in the very activity of the trust. Such view of the matter, though the nature of damages is immeasurable, considering the nature of the statement circulated on YouTube in the form of an interview, the plaintiff is certainly entitled to monetary compensation for a sum of ₹50,00,000/- which shall be paid by the defendant.”

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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