HC grants relief to Raja in defamation case against magazine
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Last Updated: Friday, October 02, 2009, 00:31
Chennai: Overruling a single judge's order, the Madras High Court today restrained a Tamil magazine from publishing "defamatory" news items about Union Minister A Raja regarding the alleged spectrum scam and his private life.

Setting aside the July 20 order of Justice K Chandru, a Division Bench comprising Justice M Chockalingam and Justice R Subbiah said they were surprised that the judge had imposed Rs 10,000 as cost on Raja while dismissing his application.

Holding that the single judge had to merely consider Raja's plea for an interim injunction restraining bi-weekly Junior Vikatan from publishing "defamatory" news items about him and his wife's and minor daughter's photographs, it said merits of the contentions had to be decided by the trial court.

In his application, Raja had contended the news items or write-ups published in Junior Vikatan's issues from April 2008 to December 2008 pertaining to him and his wife were "highly derogatory, defamatory, misleading and baseless".

Raja had claimed the manner in which the repeated publications were made about alleged scandal in allocation of spectrum to telecom companies established the "malafide" attitude of the magazine to tarnish his and his wife's image. Besides, the spectrum issue was subjudice, pending before Delhi High Court.

Holding that persons occupying public office could not avoid public gaze, Justice Chandru had dismissed Raja's application for extension of a stay restraining the magazine from publishing articles relating to him and his family regarding the alleged spectrum scam.

Raja and his wife had sought damages of Rs one crore and Rs 25 lakh respectively from the bi-weekly alleging that their dignity had been impaired by the "defamatory" news articles.

"...whether to award exemplary costs at the time of the dismissal of the application (by Raja) for interim injunction will not arise and without any hesitation that part of the (single judge's) order has got to be set aside," the bench held.

The court restrained the magazine also from publishing defamatory news items and photographs of Raja's wife and daughter without obtaining her permission.

The appellants had made out a prima facie case for granting an interim injunction, the bench said adding if a restraint order was not granted Raja and his wife would be "put to great irreparable loss and hardship."

Besides seeking damages, Raja and his wife had sought a permanent injunction on publishing defamatory news items and photographs, including those of their minor daughter.

Following the rejection of their plea for the interim injunction by the single judge, they had filed an appeal before a larger bench of the High Court.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 02, 2009, 00:31

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