The Principal Sessions Court here on Thursday warned that it might issue a warrant against Vijayakant, DMDK president and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, if he failed to appear for the next hearing in a defamation case.

The government filed the defamation complaint last December for his speech telecast on Captain TV allegedly criticising Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a derogatory manner.

Only on July 1, the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him for his continuous non-appearance even after the receipt of summons last December. Later, the court recalled the warrant following an application by him stating that his counsel failed to appear before the court due to a lawyers’ boycott. The court directed Vijayakant to appear before it without fail. Mr. Vijayakant did not turn up before the Principal Sessions Court when the matter came up for hearing on Thursday. Instead, his counsel V.T. Balaji filed an application seeking to dispense with his personal appearance on the ground that the DMDK leader was pre-occupied with a family function.

Stoutly opposing the application, M.L. Jegan, City Public Prosecutor (CPP) asked the court to issue a non-bailable warrant as he had wilfully failed to appear for the last 11 occasions even after receiving the summons.

Expressing displeasure over his non-appearance, the judge directed Vijayakant’s counsel to ask his client to appear on September 12. “Otherwise, I may have to issue a warrant at the next hearing.”

Premalatha gets some relief

Premalatha, wife of Mr. Vijayakant, got some relief on Thursday with the Madras High Court ordering that her personal appearance before a lower court here in a defamation case be dispensed with.

Justice R. Subbiah passed the order on her petition. Earlier, a complaint had been lodged against her and a few others in connection with a telecast of a report in Captain TV in February this year which allegedly defamed Ms. Jayalalithaa. The complaint had been filed on behalf of the Chief Minister by the City Public Prosecutor.

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