Chennai: Amid high drama, wheelchair-bound DMK supremo M Karunanidhi on Monday appeared before a city court in connection with a defamation case filed against him by arch rival and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
Principal Sessions Court Judge N Audinathan took about a minute to record the appearance of 92-year-old Karunanidhi, a former chief minister, who came along with his lawyers and adjourned to March 10 hearing in the defamation case.
Karunanidhi's son and party Treasurer MK Stalin, daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi besides senior party leaders TR Baalu, Dayanidhi Maran, Duraimurugan and Arcot Veerasamy, were also present.
The court premises was jampacked with over 1,500 party workers and DMK lawyers thronging it. Police had a tough time in controlling the crowd.
The rare court appearance by the DMK President just months ahead of Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu is seen as a shot in the arm for the party by its cadres.
Principal Sessions Judge N Audhinathan had last month directed Karunanidhi to appear before the court on January 18 in connection with an alleged defamatory article published in the party mouthpiece "Murasoli" in November about the AIADMK government's four-year rule.
Karunanidhi said justice will prevail.
"..I have nothing new to say. Justice will prevail, and people should unite behind justice," he told reporters.
He alleged that defamation cases are filed for "anything you mention about the state government."
When asked about the defamation cases filed by the state government, Karunanidhi said even the Supreme Court had a few months ago made a mention on the issue.
In reply to a question on whether the DMK should unite with other political parties in fighting defamation cases filed by the state government, Karunanidhi said he would not compel anyone to do so.
"It is for them whether they want to take any such decisions. I will abide by that," he said.
Asked about his message to the people of Tamil Nadu, he said people of the state must unite forgetting the political differences for the progress of the state.
The court had also summoned Murasoli's Editor, Printer and Publisher S Selvam to appear on the same day in this regard.
The issue pertains to Karunanidhi quoting from an article in Tamil bi-weekly Ananda Vikatan's November 25, 2015 issue on the matter.
Writing in party mouthpiece 'Murasoli', the DMK chief had cited the article which had made a critical assessment of the AIADMK government's performance.