New Delhi, Aug 24: The Supreme Court once again took J Jayalalithaa and her government in Tamil Nadu to task for filing defamation cases to silence political opponents. "You are a public figure, learn to face criticism," the Supreme Court told Jayalalithaa on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by DMDK chief, Vijaykanth challenging a defamation case filed against him by the Tamil Nadu government.
On the last date of hearing the court had sought from the TN government the number of defamation cases it had filed. On Wednesday when the matter came up for hearin, the court said, "Stop using defamation proceedings to silence criticism. Focus on good governance instead. You cannot use the state machinery to file defamation cases against political opponents."
Justice Dipak Mishra heading the Bench had observed that the public prosecutor must not behave like a post office. Justice Mishra while taking note of the large number of defamation cases filed by Tamil Nadu said that the public prosecutor must apply his mind.
"The PP is not a post office," Justice Mishra said. The case was filed by Vijaykanth who had sought for quashing of proceedings against him in the defamation case.
The Supreme Court during an earlier hearing had stayed the summons issued to Vijaykanth by the lower court. A defamation case had been filed against him by the government following his remarks on the Aavin milk scam.
The state government had accorded sanction to prosecute the DMDK leader who was at that time the leader of the opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly.
Defamation cases cannot be filed for merely reporting the Chief Minister's health condition. No other state misuses the state machinery like the TN government, the Supreme Court also observed. The case has been adjourned to September 22.