New Delhi: In a relief to Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul M Sangma, the Delhi High Court has restrained his political opponent P A Sangma from "repeating defamatory" statements against the CM.
"Till the next date of hearing (November 24), the defendant No 1 (P A Sangma) is restrained from repeating the defamatory statements made on January 17, 2014, January 19, 2014 and June 4, 2014 or releasing any defamatory statements in the manner already made against the plaintiff (CM) to the press/television channels or on the internet without any cogent and clear evidence," a bench of Justice Manmohan Singh said in an interim order.
The Chief Minister, a member of Indian National Congress, has filed the defamation lawsuit through senior lawyer Atul Chitale and advocate Suchitra A Chitale against P A Sangma seeking damages of Rs 25 crores for making the remarks against him.
The Chief Minister has also sought an "ex-parte ad-interim order" against P A Sangma, also a former Chief Minister and the Lok Sabha Speaker, and two media houses that included an English news channel and a news daily based in Shillong.
The court, which also issued notices to P A Sangma and two media houses, said that the Chief Minister has made out a strong prima facie case for grant of interim injunction against them.
"Let the plaint be registered as a suit. Issue summons to the defendants, on filing of process fee and registered AD covers within one week, returnable on November 24, 2014. Dasti in addition," it said.
"It is correct that freedom of expression in press and media is the part of Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India where by all the citizens have a right to express their view. However, the said right of the expression is also not absolute but is subjected to the reasonable restrictions...," it said.