Justice Quddhose of the Madras High Court on 20.01.2022 restrained filmmaker and poet, Leena Manimekalai and film producer Susi Ganesan from going to the press or making social media comments regarding #MeToo sexual harassment allegations.
The plaintiff, a renowned film director, Susi Ganesan, has filed a suit seeking for damages and permanent injunction restraining the defendant Leena Manimekalai from making defamatory statements against him. Leena Manimekalai published a post against the plaintiff in the year 2017 on a website, alleging that she was a victim of sexual harassment without naming anyone.
Ganesan has alleged that after a lapse of one year, in 2018, Manimekalai under her attempts at allegedly exposing harassment in the Kollywood industry under the name of “#metoo movement”, belatedly and after much thought and deliberation published the name of Ganesan.
Ganesan has further submitted that he has a reputation in the film industry as a good and respectable director.
According to the plaintiff, even without lodging any criminal complaint and only to tarnish his image, Manimekalai has started accusing him of sexual harassment. The plaintiff has filed a criminal defamation complaint under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, the same has been taken cognizance by the IX Metropolitan Magistrate, Saidapet, Chennai and the trial has also been commenced. According to Ganesan during the pendency of the trial, in the criminal defamation complaint “with malice and ill-intention to annihilate and malign the future career prospects” of Ganesan, Manimekalai has published a written post with a photograph on Twitter.
Justice Quddhose granted the interim injunction in favour of Ganesan and stated that, “the balance of convenience is also in favour of the applicant/ plaintiff. Irreparable injury will be caused to the plaintiff, if after Trial, this Court finds that there is no truth in the statements made by the defendants. Accordingly, there shall be an order of interim injunction.”
However, the Court made it clear that the matter is subjudice, both Ganesan and Manimekalai are injuncted from going to the press with regard to the subject matter of the dispute. “Both the plaintiff and the first defendant are directed not to go to the media or tweet messages with regard to their respective contentions as the matter is subjudice.”
– Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate