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2020 May 21
Sikhs for Justice v. India, 2020 ONSC 2628

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed this defamation action brought by a non-for-profit organization against the Republic of India and an alleged media ally in India on the basis Ontario does not have jurisdiction over the claims.   The Court stated that the Republic of India had not been served and “as a sovereign state, cannot be compelled to participate in this Ontario action”  and is immune from any Ontario judgment under the State Immunity Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-18, ss. 1-6, 3(2).  Two media outlets said to have been involved in the same alleged smear campaign were not named as defendants.  The Court found that the nature of the claims against the defendant ANI Media Private Ltd. were such that it would not be reasonably foreseeable the company would be sued for them in Ontario.  “At its core, this action seeks redress for harm said to have been caused by a campaign orchestrated by a sovereign state government in India carried out by intentions that they formed and actions they undertook with the assistance of media organizations in India.  There is a risk of jurisdictional overreach for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to assume jurisdiction over these claims.”