Tamil Nadu

Seeman’s plea to quash defamation case rejected

The chief coordinator of Naam Tamilar Katchi reportedly gave an interview to various TV channels on July 14, 2019, likening Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to a “mason” who acts as per the instructions of the Centre.

The Madras High Court on Monday refused to grant interim relief to S. Seeman, 53, chief coordinator of Naam Tamilar Katchi, on a petition filed by him to quash a criminal defamation case lodged by the State for reportedly likening Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to a “mason” who acts as per the instructions of the Centre.

Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan refused to pass order after Additional Public Prosecutor M. Mohamed Riyaz said the interview given by the petitioner to various TV channels on July 14 last year was per se defamatory in nature and directly relates to the public functions discharged by the Chief Minister.

However, in his petition, the NTK leader refuted the charge of having committed criminal defamation and alleged that the complaint had been lodged only due to political vendetta. He claimed that the intention of the government in invoking Section 499 (criminal defamation) of Indian Penal Code was to curtail freedom of speech and expression.

“The statement made by the petitioner is not a defamatory interview but only a criticism which was made to create awareness amongst the public in good faith and it is in decent and respectful language. The right of criticism cannot be atrophied by constant launching of criminal prosecution for defamation on each and every issue to silence the critics.

“The complaint filed against the petitioner is an absolute misuse of power by the State machinery... The alleged statement is not specific but only generic and not intended against the Chief Minister in respect of his conduct in discharge of public functions and the petitioner did not harm the reputation of the honourable Chief Minister,” the petition read.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 9:17:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/seemans-plea-to-quash-defamation-case-rejected/article30966991.ece

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