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HC vacates stay on Nakkeeran

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Apr 7 (UNI) Madras High Court today vacated the interim injunction restraining Nakkeeran, a Tamil weekly magazine, from publishing articles allegedly defamatory in nature, against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, with conditions.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Ms Justice Prabha Sridevan vacated the interim injunction granted by a Single Judge while allowing an appeal filed by R R Gopal, Nakkeeran Editor.

Originally, on a petition filed by Ms Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, a Single Judge granted the interim injunction restraining Nakkeeran from publishing articles defamatory in nature. Against this order, Mr Gopal preferred the present appeal.

The Bench told the appellant that if he proposed to publish any article purely concerning the personal life of Ms Jayalalithaa and Ms Sasikala or both as the case may be, the appellant should forward the queries or gist of the proposed article to the fax address of Ms Jayalalithaa and Ms Sasikala, furnished by their counsel. If there was no response from them within 36 hours, the appellant could proceed to publish the articles in his magazine.

It was true the press could not be compelled to publish the clarification or response of the person about whom an article was written. Any responsible member of the press would include the other side's version on its own in the article, the bench observed.

While discussing public officials, quoting various Supreme Court judgements, the bench said the proof that the member or members of the media acted upon reasonable verification of facts would be sufficient. Therefore, it was not open for public officials to insist on prior verification in respect of their public duties.


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