The Madras High Court on Friday granted an interim stay of all further proceedings before the Principal Sessions Judge here relating to a defamation complaint against N.Ram, the (then) Editor-in-Chief, Printer and Publisher of The Hindu,and B.Kolappan, author, in connection with a news item in the daily on January 8 about the attack on a Tamil bi-weekly, “Nakkheeran.”

Passing interim orders on petitions filed by the two, Justice S.Rajeswaran ordered notice. The Judge dispensed with the personal appearance of the petitioners before the Principal Sessions Judge.

Mr. Ram and Mr. Kolappan challenged the validity of Sections 499 (Defamation), 500 (Punishment for defamation) and 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) IPC. They also challenged a G.O. of January 13 this year authorising the City Public Prosecutor (CPP) to file a complaint against them for authoring and publishing the news item in the newspaper. The Judge said after hearing the senior counsel and going through the documents produced, he was of the view that the contentious issues raised had to be decided by hearing the respondent/State in detail. Though the Advocate General opposed any interim order being granted, since the issue was to be decided in the petitions, he was inclined to grant an order of interim stay as prayed for insofar as the petitioners alone were concerned. He also stayed the operation of the impugned G.O.

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