HC grants relief to Raja in defamation case against magazine

Last Updated: Friday, October 2, 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 2, 2009 - 00:31

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