The Madras High Court on Thursday quashed four criminal defamation cases filed against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin for his remarks against late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, The Hindu reported.
The court passed the order while hearing 12 defamation cases filed against Stalin by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
The cases were related to Stalin’s comments on Jayalalithaa’s stay at Kodanad in 2012 and his criticism of the opening of Chembarambakkam lake during the flood in Chennai in 2015.
Justice N Sathish Kumar noted that there was no substance in the cases filed against Stalin. He agreed with the argument of Stalin’s lawyer that people holding high offices must show patience and not waste the court’s time by quickly moving to file defamation cases. The court also said that that public figures must refrain from making derogatory remarks.
Stalin had claimed that Jayalalithaa was vacationing at a bungalow in Kodanad while there was a cholera outbreak in Chennai. The judge asked how Stalin’s remark amounts to defamation. “It is an admitted fact that the then chief minister was residing in Kodanad and discharging her official functions from there,” he said, according to The Hindu. “What is the defamation in this? How are you going to prove it? In what way has this statement affected her official functions?”
Special Public Prosecutor A Natarajan argued that it was not correct to make such an accusation and that the state was ready to bring in witnesses to prove its case.
He also cited the example of advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was held guilty of contempt of court in August, The Times of India reported. “Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan was punished for contempt of court for similar tweet against chief justice of India claiming that he was on vacation,” he said.