Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday justified the filing of defamation cases against political leaders, including Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam leader Vijayakant, saying it was the only way to restrain those making baseless allegations and derogatory remarks against her and the government.

She said if no action was taken against a person who made derogatory remarks against a Chief Minister of 7.28 crore people, it would amount to confirming the remarks as true.

“In public life, one should naturally behave in a restrained and disciplined manner. If one does not possess these qualities, the cases are filed to ensure they behave in a proper manner,” she said while responding to DMDK deputy leader Panruti S. Ramachandran who wanted the government to withdraw the defamation cases.

She said when derogatory remarks were made against her or against her Cabinet members or against the government, they could not be dismissed as allegations against an individual.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said she was in politics like a sage who had renounced everything, and had no attachment to fruits of her office, as crores of people reposed faith in her and her government. “The AIADMK headed by me has 1.5 crore members. All the 7.28 crore people in Tamil Nadu have faith in me,” she further said. The Chief Minister said cases had been filed only when strong derogatory remarks were made. “Those who are in public life and those who lead political parties must avoid tongue-lashing. They must be careful about what they speak. If they speak in an unrestrained manner, then they have to face defamation charges,” she said. When Mr. Ramachandran said it was his personal request and he was not advocating someone else’s case, Ms Jayalalithaa said a senior politician like him should adequately advise those who made derogatory remarks. “It will benefit everyone.”

On the arrest of DMDK member Arun Subramaniam, she said he had been arrested in connection with a land grabbing case. “The police are taking severe action against land grabbers irrespective of their political affiliation and status. Even some AIADMK members are in jail,” she said.

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