The Delhi High Court on Friday granted time to former Indian hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne to file his response to lawsuits by two players and Hockey India against publication of his book.
While player Manpreet Singh had approached the high court claiming that Marijne’s “Will Power: The Inside Story of the Incredible Turnaround in Indian Women’s Hockey” by HarperCollins Publishers India Private Limited, contained “defamatory” content against him, Gurjit Kaur asserted the book revealed information pertaining to her medical condition.
The court had earlier passed interim orders restraining the publication of the allegedly objectionable content in the book.
Advocate Vrinda Grover on Friday appeared for the former coach and made a “good faith offer” that since the book is yet to be published, the author was willing to “re-write” the allegedly objectionable content with respect to the players so that the case can be closed.
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She emphasised that the author was the coach to both the hockey players and has “nurtured” them and their goals are “not divorced from each other”.
Justice Amit Bansal observed that the “best course is to avoid further controversy” and asked the counsel for the players to “bounce it off” her clients.
Advocate Shyel Trehan, appearing for the players, said that while she has “not asked” Gurjeet about this aspect, damage has been done to Manpreet and that lawsuit can’t be given up.
“We are happy to go to trial. Damage has already been done to Manpreet. Claim for damages continues. There is a defamation angle there, which I cannot give that up,” she said. The court was informed that the defendants would contest the lawsuit by Hockey India against the book on merits.
According to Hockey India, the former coach’s book is in breach of the Hockey India Code of Conduct and sanctions.
“Counsel enters appearance for defendant no 2 and seeks time to file reply… Let written statements (by defendants) be filed,” said the court.
The court directed that the cases be listed before the joint registrar for completion of pleading on January 17.
The court listed the matters for hearing before it on April 20.