‘State cannot use defamation to throttle democracy’, says Madras HC, quashes 28 cases against media
The Madras High Court on Thursday quashed 28 criminal defamation proceedings filed against various media organisations by the erstwhile Jayalalithaa government, saying public servants and constitutional functionaries cannot be allowed to misuse the law to settle political scores with adversaries, LiveLaw reported.
The court was hearing a set of petitions filed by the media houses to quash the proceedings against them for news reports published between 2011-’13. Those who filed the petitions include The Hindu, The Times of India and Tamil newspapers Dinakaran, Dinamalar, Tamil Murasu and Murasoli.
Justice Abdul Quddhose made pertinent observations about state-sanctioned defamation cases and said public servants and constitutional functionaries must be able to face criticism since they owed a solemn duty to the people. “The state cannot use criminal defamation cases to throttle democracy”, the court said in its 152-page judgement.