The Karnataka High Court while disposing of a PIL has stated that the media outlets are not prevented from publishing or telecasting any news item which is not defamatory in their opinion regarding BJP Candidate Tejasvi Surya.
A division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice L Narayana Swamy and Justice Dinesh Kumar passed the order in response to a PIL filed by Democratic Reforms Organisation who have moved the court seeking directions to set aside the injunction.
The bench has stated in its order that "The defendants (media outlets) are not prevented from publishing or telecasting any news item which is not defamatory in their opinion. In case the plaintiff (Tejasvi Surya) is aggrieved by any such publication or telecast of any news item he may approach the Election Commission of India".
The petitioner's counsel had contended that the said impugned order makes Surya immune to public scrutiny. The petitioner also adds that the said impugned order illegally restrains the news publications and channels from fairly reporting news, events, or any other factually accurate information relating to Surya.
The petitioner's counsel had also stated that For free and fair elections, information flow about the candidates, including their antecedents, is important. Preventing the information flow in the guise of a defamatory suit violates free and fair election.
The court had reserved its order in the case after hearing the arguments of both the parties on Thursday.
Tejasvi Surya who is contesting as a BJP candidate from Bengaluru South constituency had obtained a temporary injunction order from a lower court, restraining media outlets from publishing or telecasting 'defamatory' statements against him.
The said injunction order barred 49 media outlets including newspapers, television channels and social media platforms from publishing or telecasting 'false, malicious and defamatory' news about Surya.