Chennai: Under fire for filing defamation cases against opposition leaders, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday said persons in public life should measure their words lest legal recourse teach them discipline.
Intervening when Deputy Leader of the DMDK Legislature Party S Ramachandran raised the issue during a debate on Home Department in the Assembly, she said defamation cases had been filed only because of "bad" remarks made by such leaders.
"Generally, persons in public life, especially those involved in politics, and that too leaders of political parties, should measure their words. If they end up speaking all that they desire, they have to face the cases," she said.
Jayalalithaa, whose government has filed cases against opposition leaders M Karunanidhi (DMK), Vijayakant (DMDK) besides several media organisations, was responding to a plea by Ramachandran that defamation cases other than those which really had merit be withdrawn in order to ensure a "healthy political situation."
The chief minister said when allegations were made against her, her ministers or the government, it affected not just an individual, but "7.28 crore people of Tamil Nadu" dependent on it (her government).
"Therefore, if no action is taken, it would (be construed) that allegations made against a Chief Minister responsible for the 7.28 crore people are true. One should have patience and discipline in public life and if that is not present, the cases will inculcate it (in the persons concerned)," she said.
The Chief Minister described Ramachandran as an "experienced veteran," and asked him to advise persons making defamatory remarks against her to not to do so, in an indirect reference to his party chief, DMDK founder and Leader of Opposition, Vijayakant, who recently faced an arrest warrant in a defamation case filed by the government.