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Kerala High Court grants stay in defamation case proceedings against Dr Tharoor

2 min read

Kriti Agrawal

The Kerala High Court stayed further proceedings in the defamation case against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, which is currently pending in the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Thiruvananthapuram, for two months.

Sandhya Sreekumar of Petta filed the defamation suit, alleging that the senior Congress leader and writer depicted women from the Nair community negatively in his book “The Great Indian Novel.”

The order was given by Justice Gopinath P in response to Shashi Tharoor’s petition to quash the proceedings. 

The Court issued a temporary order staying the proceedings for two months, as prayed for.  

The complainant claimed that a sentence in the book had brought her and the Nair community, especially its womenfolk, great shame.

Tharoor claimed that the plaintiff had taken an out-of-context sentence, quoted it, and interpreted it as defamatory. 

The full reading of the section in which the sentences appear in the book would clearly establish that they were not used in a negative way and with a malicious intent to malign the Nair race, to which the author himself belongs, or its womenfolk, as the complainant baselessly alleges.

Tharoor’s mother is a Nair woman, and he has two sisters who are both Nair women. As a result, it is unthinkable that his goal was to malign, belittle, and insult women of the Nair community, to which his mother and sisters also belong.

According to the petition, the author is specifically speaking of a time when Indian women held a dominant role in society, even having the right to choose their chosen sexual partners other than their husbands. 

The author describes it through a fictional conversation between two characters that in ancient India, a woman enjoying sexual pleasures with any of her choices outside of marriage, except the fertile time when she was only expected to have a sexual relationship with her husband, was not considered against dharma

The author stresses that the prevalent moral definition is not the true Hindu concept.

On the other hand, it is a result of both the Muslim invasion and the imposition of Victorian prudence on citizens who had already been puritanized by purdah.

According to the petition, the case of the Nair women was cited as a thing of the past, and he never depicted them as living an unethical life.