SC stays defamation case against Vijaykanth

SC stays defamation case against Vijaykanth

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed defamation proceedings against DMDK founder, actor Captain Vijaykanth, in a Chennai court for “fair criticism” of the Tamil Nadu government in the Aavin milk scam.

A bench presided by Justice Dipak Misra allowed his plea for interim stay on the criminal proceedings till the apex court decided his petition.

The court issued notice to city public prosecutor, minister for Milk and Diary Development Department B V Ramanaa, and the Centre on his petition also challenging Constitutional validity of the defamation laws.

The state government has granted sanction for his prosecution in the case for making press statement against 

Ramanaa. A trial court has issued summons against him for appearance on January 21.

The scam involved alleged diversion of supply milk vans of Aavin, cooperative milk society of the of Tamil Nadu government, from various districts midway on the route to Chennai and diluting with water.

Vijaykanth challenged the constitutional validity of Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (relating to criminal defamation), contending that these provisions violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution on freedom of speech and expression.

According to the petitioner, the defamation case was filed to trample the voice of the opposition even though a number of corrupt officials faced criminal action in several scams.

The petition by Vijaykanth is in line with one filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who contended that the Tamil Nadu government had filed a number of defamation cases against him at the instance of former chief minister Jayalalitha to suppress dissent and free speech. Swamy had also challenged the Constitutional validity of Section 499 and 500 of IPC.