“This is not the way healthy democracy functions,” SC said

 You are a public figure and have to face criticism SC rebukes Jayalalithaa
news Defamation Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 12:14

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rebuked Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa saying that she should exercise maximum restraint while slapping defamation suits.

The apex court said, “You are a public figure and you have to face criticism,” while hearing a plea by DMDK chief Vijayakant.

"Tamil Nadu is the only state which misuses state machinery to fight defamation cases. State controls and sanctions the public proceedings for defamation, you must exercise restraint while starting any prosecution,” the court added.

The court observed that defamation can't be slapped all the time, public figures must face criticism and “this is not the way healthy democracy functions”.

The top court further observed that “criticism for public policy cannot be ground for defamation”.

The apex court also criticised Jayalalithaa for filing cases on the media for reporting on her health. On July 9 and July 10 of 2015 Rediff had published two articles relating to Jayalalithaa's health, on speculations that she will fly out of the country for treatment. Rediff had taken down the July 10th article titled 'Chennai media knew Jaya's health was not fine but kept mum'. 

This comes after the Supreme Court in July had asked for the list of defamation cases initiated by Jayalalithaa when Vijaykant had pleaded to stay proceedings against him in a defamation case.

Then the Supreme Court had aid defamation cases should not be used as a political weapon against critics of governments and stayed non-bailable warrants (NBW) issued against DMDK Chief and actor-politician Vijayakanth and his wife Premalatha in the matter.

It was only last week, that the TN government told the court that a total of 213 defamation cases was filed from 2011-2016 when the AIADMK was in power.

Also read: Jaya govt filed 213 defamation complaints in 5 years: Here are some of the strangest cases



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