The Madras High Court on Tuesday quashed a defamation case against Telangana Governor and Puducherry Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan in connection with an allegation levelled by her against Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) when she was the Tamil Nadu BJP president in 2017. Justice M Dhandapani quashed the case on the basis of merit as there was no representation, either on behalf of Soundararajan or Dhadi K Karthikeyan of the VCK, even after adjourning the hearing on quashing the application on multiple occasions.
Karthikeyan had filed the case at the Kancheepuram magisterial court in response to alleged derogatory comments regarding VCK and its chief Thol Thirumavalavan made during a press meet Soundararajan had addressed in 2017. Summons had been issued to her based on this.
Soundararajan had then moved the Madras High Court in 2018 to quash the defamation case. However even after the case was listed for hearing four different times, she was not represented by anyone. The complainant Karthikeyan had also remained absent.
On perusing the papers even after both parties remained silent, Justice Dhandapani found that the complaint was based on a statement of Soundararajan alleging that the VCK and its founder leader, Thol Thirumavalavan, were holding â€śkangaroo courtsâ€ť and indulging in land grabbing.
The judge pointed out that Karthikeyan had originally filed his complaint in a private capacity at a magisterial court in Kancheepuram. He had however, not mentioned whether he was authorised by Thirumavalavan or the VCK to file the case.
The judge added that the relevant sub-section would only apply when the statement alleged to have been made affected the right of the person against whom the offence was reportedly committed, to make a complaint in respect of that offence before a magistrate having jurisdiction or the power of such magistrate to take cognisance of the offence upon such complaint. Further saying that â€śthe respondent has on his own accord and on reasons best known to him, has thought it fit to file the private complaint. The respondent not being the person affected, the invocation of Section 500 (criminal defamation) of the Indian Penal Code does not merit acceptance.â€ť
he judge also chastised the magisterial court saying that the court â€śhad not applied its mindâ€ť while issuing the summons to Soundararajan. While the complaint had been filed under Section 199, read with 200 of the CrPC for an alleged offence under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for defamation), the Judicial Magistrate Court had issued summons under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. In this regard, Justice Dhanapani ordered that the cognisance taken by the lower court deserves to be quashed.
With inputs from PTI and IANS