DMK-affiliated Murasoli Trust filed a private complaint against the minister’s remarks made in a press meet alleging that the Trust was being run on Panchami land.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed defamation proceedings against Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal husbandry and Dairy L Murugan at the instance of former MP and DMK leader RS Bharathi for Murugan’s reported derogatory statements against the DMK-affiliated Murasoli Trust. The trust had filed a private complaint against the minister’s remarks made in a press meet alleging that the Trust was being run on Panchami land (land that is distributed to Dalits in Tamil Nadu).
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and PK Mishra in their order said, “By way of ad interim order, there shall be a stay of further proceedings pending before the Assistant Sessions Judge Additional Special Court for Trial of Cases related to MPs and MLAs of Tamil Nadu, till the next date of hearing.”
The court also sought Murasoli Trust’s response to Murugan’s plea challenging the Madras High Court's September 5, 2023 order refusing to quash the case. Justice Anand Venkatesh noted that in cases of defamation, the statements had to be tested only from the point of view of the common prudent man and that the statements put forward by the minister would be understood as questioning the right and title of the property.
In its order, the court said, “Even if the petitioner thinks that he had merely put a question, such statements will be understood as if he is questioning the right of the property, over which, the Trust is functioning and he wants to drive home the point that it is functioning in the panchami land. That is how the respondent has understood the statements.” (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)