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HC quashed proceedings against Kumutham Reporter

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Mar 16 (UNI) Madras High Court has quashed proceedings pending before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, on a defamation complaint filed by PMK president G K Mani, MLA against "Kumutham Reporter", a Tamil biweekly, for allegedly publishing a defamatory article against Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Chairman, Indian Red Cross Society, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss.

Mr Justice M Jeyapaul quashed the proceedings yesterday, while allowing a petition filed by Chairman and Managing Director and others of Kumutham Reporter, holding that the complainant G K Mani had no locus standi to file the defamation complaint.

According to the complainant, Kumutham Reporter in its issue dated October 20, 2005, alleged that Indian Red Cross Society received Rs 50 crore from foreign Red Cross Societies. The amount collected for spending on Tsunami victims was kept unspent due to alleged inaction of Dr Ramadoss.

According to the petitioners, the complainant had no locus standi to prefer the complaint as he would not fall within the category of persons reportedly aggrieved by the article. The complaint was filed with an attempt to muzzle the press and prevent free and fair report. The article had no reference to any political party.

In his order, the judge said counsel for the complainant had submitted that he had no objection to quashing the complaint except for the offence under Section 500 of the IPC. In the instant case, as rightly pointed out by the senior counsel for the petitioners, there was no reference at all to the party to which Dr Anbumani Ramadoss belonged. Even his Cabinet position as Minister was spared in the article. The functioning of Dr Ramadoss in his capacity as Chairman of the All India Red Cross Society was the subject of attack. His political leanings and the position occupied as Minister was not at all the subject matter of discussion found in the impugned article, the judge added.

The judge said the style of functioning of the Red Cross Society and its helmsman was critically analysed in the impugned article. If a member of the Red Cross Society came forward with such a complaint, there was some substance in his or her plea that he felt aggrieved by damaging remarks made in the article, as against Red Cross Society. The complainant, who was PMK President, had no connection with the Indian Red Cross Society.


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