Chennai: The Madras High Court has made absolute an order of stay against defamation proceedings initiated by a Chennai-based consultancy firm against BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in a Singapore court.
The firm filed a defamation suit against him in connection with a press conference he had conducted in New Delhi, and certain allegations levelled against the company in the Aircel-Maxis deal and spectrum allocation.
In October 2013, a single judge had stayed the proceedings, on a petition filed by Swamy. Making the stay order absolute recently, Justice R S Ramanathan dismissed a petition filed by Chennai-based Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, saying it would seriously prejudice Swamy.
Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited had filed the plea, seeking to vacate the interim order.
Justice R S Ramanathan, rejecting the company`s plea, said the Chennai-based firm, whose Singapore subsidiary has moved the court there, could have filed defamation suit in India itself.
The company has its office in Chennai, within the jurisdiction of the High Court, and the publication of the news was made in New Delhi, the judge said.
"Therefore, the company could have very well filed the suit for defamation in India. By filing the suit in Singapore, it may be with an intention to arm-twist Swamy from proceeding further in his action of unearthing the scams. I do not find any reason to vacate the order of injunction," the judge added.
"If injunction is not granted, serious prejudice would be caused to Swamy, as he would be forced to prosecute the case filed against him before the High Court of Singapore.On the other hand, by the grant of injunction in favour of Swamy, no prejudice would be caused to the company," the judge said.
The matter relates to Swamy`s press meet in New Delhi on April 26, 2012 during which he had reportedly commented on the alleged irregularities in the spectrum allocation and the Aircel-Maxis deal.
Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited took exception to the allegations and issued a legal notice to him. Later, its Singapore subsidiary of the same name initiated the impugned defamation proceedings in the Singapore High Court.
Swamy filed a contempt of court petition in the Supreme
Court, saying he could not be dragged to courts for having filed 2G-related cases in the apex court.
The petition was dismissed on September 10, 2013. The Singapore High Court issued notices to him, saying hearing has been fixed for October 23, 24 and 29, but the Madras High Court stayed the proceedings on October 10.
Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited filed the plea now, seeking to vacate the interim order.
The firm had questioned the Madras High Court`s jurisdiction to entertain the plea, and said Swamy`s petition was vitiated on the ground of laches, as the defamation suit in Singapore was filed 12 months before Swamy`s petition.
Also, by writing to the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Singapore to postpone the scheduled hearings in the Singapore court, Swamy had submitted himself to the jurisdiction of that court.
"Having done so, the present suit and injunction application filed by him before the Madras High Court does not have a leg to stand on. It is liable to be dismissed," it said.