HC seeks affidavit over surety for Channel
Mumbai: Hearing the plea of news channel
"Times Now" to allow it to furnish corporate guarantee
instead of bank guarantee for Rs 80 crore in a defamation
suit, the Bombay High Court on Thursday sought an affidavit from the
company wanting to give such an undertaking.
"Let the company which wants to give corporate guarantee
on behalf of the Channel file an affidavit on January 16," a
bench headed by Justice D K Deshmukh said after hearing a
petition seeking modification of an earlier High Court order
that asked the broadcaster to give Rs 80 crore bank guarantee.
The petition was filed by Times Global Broadcasting
Company, which runs Times Now news channel.
The judges also asked the petitioner to identify the
assets it proposed to place before the court in lieu of the
bank guarantee amounting to Rs 80 crore.
"The prothonotory of the court will not accept anything
without inviting objections from the other side (respondent),"
A Pune court had ordered the news channel to pay Rs 100
crore as damages to former Supreme Court judge P B Sawant for
defaming him. The channel had challenged the order in the high
court which asked it to deposit Rs 20 crore and furnish a bank
guarantee for the balance amount.
The channel prayed that instead of furnishing bank
guarantee of Rs 80 crore, the court may permit Bennet Coleman
and Co Ltd to give a corporate guarantee on their behalf.
The channel said it was facing difficulty in procuring
a bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore as the company is required to
provide 75 per cent to 100 per cent margin and commission to
the banks to avail this facility.
"It would be unviable for the applicant (Times Now) to
incur such high costs and to continue to run its operations
effectively until the matter is finally disposed of," it said.
Justice Sawant had sued the channel for displaying his
photo wrongly during telecast of a bulletin on September 10,
2008 on a Provident Fund scam allegedly involving a Calcutta
High Court judge. The report had showed Justice Sawant's
photograph in place of the high court judge.