Proceedings in a defamation case aganist Shashi Tharoor was allowed stay by the Kerala High Court. Shashi Tharoor was alleged to make accusation on modesty of a Nair women in his book "The Great Indian Novel". The complaint was filed by Sandhya Sreekumar and the matter was heard by Justice Gopinath P in the High court.
The complainant alleged that the a sentence in the book said to defame Nair women. The sentence specified by the the complainant is " "In Kerala the men of the Nair community only learn that their wives are free to receive them by seeing if another man' slippers aren't outside her door." An incident was mentioned by Sreekumar in her complaint wherein she was asked by a visitor whether she was free or are there any footwear outside her room. Later, on reading the novel written by Shashi Tharoor, she discovered that a sentence in the book accounts for her disrespect and defamation. Resentful of this incident, Sreekumar filed a private complaint before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate at Thiruvananthapuram under section 499 of Indian Penal Code and seeks punishment under Section 500. On receiving the complain, the magistrate ordered an inquiry in the matter and issued summon to Tharoor by taking cognizance of the case. The counsel for the petitioner represented by Advocates BS Suraj Krishna, Jithu B and Febin Raj TS argued that the period to allow cognizance have expired. The petitioner submitted that under section 468 and section 469 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the allowed period for cognizance is within three years of the offense and the book was published in the year 1982 and the time to take up cognizance expired in the year 1992. The petitioner argued that the said statement was not used with an intension to defame the image of Nair women or the community of Hindu-Nair women to which Tharoor himself belongs to. The sentence was established in a false way. The petitioner made reference to several historical work on Kerala which depicts the life of various communities in Kerala in 16th and 17th century. The Counsel also referred to the supreme court judgement in Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India wherein it was held that "mere publication of an imputation by itself may not constitute the offence of defamation". The petitioner submitted that the complainant misunderstood the context of the book and hence the plea should be quashed by the Magistrate.