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HC dismisses with costs PILs against Sun, Jaya TV

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Mar 29 (UNI) The Madras High Court today dismissed, with costs Public Interest Litigations (PIL) seeking a CBI probe into alleged release of BSNL and Tamil Nadu Government advertisements to Sun TV and Jaya TV respectively.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Ms Justice Prabha Sridevan dismissed the PIL filed by advocate J Veparasu, seeking a CBI probe into alleged release of BSNL advertisements to Sun TV, and imposed costs of Rs 50,000 payable to the Chairman and Managing Director of BSNL and Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran.

The bench also dismissed as withdrawn another PIL filed by advocate B K Girish Neelakandan, seeking a CBI probe into the release of State Government advertisements to Jaya TV and Namadhu MGR, a party organ, and imposed costs of Rs 5,000 to be payable to the Mediation and Reconcilation Centre.

Passing seperate orders, the bench said the allegations made in the PILs were frivolous and contrary to fact.

Dismissing the petition against Sun TV, the bench said, 'let the message go to the litigant public that this forum of court was not to be abused by petitions sponsored by political parties to gain political mileage or benefit'.

It was seen from the chart produced by BSNL that the charges were totally false and malafide. It was also seen that advertisements were given even to TV channels, which did not have much viewership. For Sun TV, in 2003-2004 the total amount of advertisement was Rs 20.34 lakh, in 2004-2005 it was 25 lakh and 2005 and 2006 Rs 55 lakh. Sun TV had the highest TRP rating among TV channels in the State. It was also brought to the court's notice that the issue was raised in Parliament by an MP and it was answered that no undue favour was given to anybody. The allegations are false and contrary to records,'' the court ruled.

''BSNL advertisements were given to Doordarshan for a total sum of Rs 42 lakh in 2004-2005. It was regrettable that such malicious averments were made by a practising advocate. It was pertinent to note that this petition was filed in the wake of poll announcement,'' it said, terming the allegations ''scandlous.''

The bench said a petitioner who came to the court should ''not only come with clean hands but also mind and objective. It was distressing that the court was flooded with a large number of PILs sponsored by one party or the other, though no public interest was involved. The time had come to put an end to this by imposing exemplary costs, it noted.

The court had borne in mind observations made by the Constitution bench in the S C Gupta case. Another disturbing feature was that this PIL had been filed by an advocate. It was unfortunate to note the increasing tendency among members of the bar to file such petitions under the guise of public interest. So it was a fit case to impose costs of Rs 50,000, the bench added.

As soon as the judgement was delivered, counsel for another petitioner, advocate Girish Neelakandan, who filed a PIL against Jaya TV, said he would instruct his client to tender unconditional apology.

The bench directed him to file an affidavit with all particulars.

Accordingly, the counsel filed an affidavit stating that the petitioner would not indulge in such activities and prayed to the court to permit him to withdraw his PIL. Following this, the bench dismissed the PIL as withdrawn and imposed a cost of Rs 5,000.


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