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Ban on web pages linked to IIPM lifted by Gwalior court

Ban on web pages linked to IIPM lifted by Gwalior court
Gwalior:  Articles and blogs that are critical of self-styled management guru Arindham Chaudhari and his chain of business schools will be accessible online once again, a court in Gwalior ruled.

A fortnight ago, the same court had ordered the government to block 70 web pages or URLs for hosting allegedly defamatory content about Mr Chaudhari and the Indian Institute of Premier Management.

The court's decision to impose a temporary ban on those stories fuelled online fury, and a debate about whether free speech was being stifled.  Mr Chaudhari was not shaken by the barrage of public comments against him, and said he is entitled to protect his business and its interests.

The court's decision to allow the contentious stories to be read online  was based on an appeal by the government, and will hold till the next hearing on March 14.

The lawsuit about the allegedly defamatory content was filed not by Mr Chaduhari, but by a man who runs an affiliate centre of the IIPM in Dabra, about 40 kms from Gwalior.  Ruchir Sharma said in his petition that the contentious stories online were hurting his businesses.

Few buy that explanation, accusing Mr Chaudhari of using a distant business associate as a front to muzzle any criticism.

Though the government has challenged the earlier ban today, initially, it implemented the court order with such hurried zeal that it inadvertently blocked a section of the website of the University Grants Commission or UGC, the regulator for higher education. The page carried a warning that IIPM is not recognized as a university and cannot confer degrees on students, crucial information that should be in the public domain.

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