The Bengaluru City Civil Court has asked television channel Asianet and its subsidiary Suvarna News to pay Rs 50 lakh to Kannada actor and former MP Divya Spandana in a defamation case, Bar and Bench reported on Wednesday.
The court said in a judgement passed on April 26 that the channels had wrongfully linked Spandana to the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing scam. The court also granted a permanent injunction asking Asianet and Suvarna News not to telecast any programme linking Spandana to the the scam without adequate proof.
Spandana had filed the defamation suit after Suvarna News aired two programmes on May 31, 2013, in which allegations were levelled against two actors of the Kannada film industry. Although she was not named, Spandana’s photos were aired during the programme. Spandana was a brand ambassador for IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, she did not participate in the 2013 edition of the tournament.
During the proceedings, Asianet and Suvarna News argued that there was no direct reference to Spandana in the news programmes, and thus no damage was caused to her.
However, Judge Patil Nagalinganagouda said the programmes affected Spandana’s reputation, and berated the two channels for publishing content without substantial proof. “This court is of the opinion that act of the defendants is in complete violation of journalistic ethics and deliberately to destroy the popularity of the plaintiff and act of the defendant is mala fide with an intention to defame her dignity,” the judge added.