SC blasts Jaya for filing 200 defamation cases

SC blasts Jaya for filing 200 defamation cases

SC blasts Jaya for filing 200 defamation cases

 The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and the state government for filing around 200 defamation cases over reported “defamatory remarks”, reminding her that in democracy public figures must be ready to face criticism.

“This is not the way...it has to be healthy democracy. The state-controlled public prosecutor and the sanctioning authority cannot be used like this. The public figure has to face criticism for policy,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan said.

“Perhaps, Tamil Nadu is the only state which uses state machinery to file defamation cases,” the bench said, as a counsel, appearing for DMDK chief Captain A Vijayakanth submitted as many as 200 defamation cases in the past five years. Of these cases, 85 were filed against media houses and 55 were those involving Jayalalithaa.

The court said public figures cannot use defamation laws to throttle democracy.
The court posted the petition filed by Vijayakanth for consideration on September 22 as it was pointed out that an earlier notice to the state CM was not served.

The bench had on July 28 stayed the non-bailable warrants issued against DMDK chief and actor Vijaykanth and his wife Premlata by a Tirupur trial court.

“State cannot use defamation offences as a tool against opponent leaders. Criticism against government is a base of democracy and fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression of citizens. Slapping criminal prosecution against opponent political leaders for their fair criticism against government gives chilling effects on citizens’ rights of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under our Constitution,” the bench had then said.

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