Lawstreet Journal

State Cannot Use Criminal Defamation Cases to Throttle Democracy: Madras HC While Dismissing Cases By TN Govt Against Media Including The Hindu [READ ORDER]

Lawstreet Journal 31 May 2020 12:01am

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Judiciary State Cannot Use Criminal Defamation Cases to Throttle Democracy: Madras HC While Dismissing Cases By TN Govt Against Media Including The Hindu [READ ORDER]

A Single Bench of Justice Abdul Quddhose of the Madras High Court on May 21, 2020, while delivering judgment in the matter of N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, Printer & Publisher “The Hindu” and Ors. v. Union of Indian and Anr. emphasized that criminal defamation proceedings cannot be misused by the State to throttle democracy or settle political scores with adversaries.

 

Background of the Case: 

Among the batch writ petitions filed under Art. 226 of the Constitution, several newspapers had challenged the launching of prosecution of Criminal defamation against them under Section 499 (defines Defamation) of Indian Penal Code, 1860 by the State Government through the Public Prosecutor under Section 199(2) of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Cr.P.C.). 

Several issues like ‘what is meant by Criminal defamation against the State?’ and ‘what are the statutory criteria required for launching prosecution for criminal defamation under Section 199(2) Cr.P.C through a Public Prosecutor (PP)?’ were raised by these petitioners, which had larger ramifications on freedom of speech under Art. 19(1)(a)

In addition to “the Hindu”, other media-houses who had petitioned were “Nakheeran”, “Times of India”, “Dinamalar”, “Tamil Muras”, “Murasoli” and “Dinakaran”.

S. 199(2) of Cr.P.C allows the PP to launch a prosecution of defamation when the person defamed is the President, the Vice-President, the Governor, a Minister of a Union or a State or any other public servant employed with Union or State and imputation is in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions.

 

Submissions of the Petitioners: 

As many petitioners of the case were… Continue Reading...


Tagged: Media  
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