In the past, few Indians bothered to initiate defamation suits, because trials can take decades in the country’s overburdened courts. A handful of plaintiffs have been awarded paltry sums after waiting years for their cases to be resolved. But in a rare case last year, a lower court in the city of Pune ordered a private news television channel to pay a retired judge damages amounting to about $18 million for mistakenly showing his photograph during a story about a judge with a similar name who had been accused of fraud. The channel, which apologized and corrected the mistake on air, has appealed.

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