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Saturday, February 4, 2023

SC relief for Deve Gowda over Nandi


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New Delhi: In a relief to former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, the Supreme Court has refused to interfere with the Karnataka High Court’s interim order that stayed a trial court decree mandating him to pay Rs 2 crore for his defamatory remarks against Nandi Infrastructure.

“You (Nandi) have put up such a good project. Corporate entities make valuable investments. When a public figure makes irresponsible statements, it damages reputation and affects the share prices,” the apex court said.

The Supreme Court, however, said public figures should shy away from making irresponsible statements that damage the reputation and business of corporate entities.

Earlier, Deve Gowda had given an undertaking that he would not make any derogatory statements against Nandi Infrastructure during pendency of appeal.

“If Deve Gowda breaches his undertaking, then Nandi Infrastructure could move court seeking appropriate remedies,” the court stated.

In its order last year, the trial court had asked Deve Gowda to deposit a decretal amount of Rs 2 crore for making damaging statements against Nandi Infrastructure. It also observed that defamatory statements like one made by the former Prime Minister will definitely hamper implementation of such a massive project like Nandi Expressways.

The High Court, in its interim order, stayed the payment of decretal amount to Nandi Infrastructure by observing that prima facie it did not find an iota of evidence that resulted in the company having suffered any loss in real terms or otherwise.

“No evidence also has been found to show either the dip in the valuation of the company nor is any independent evidence led to demonstrate that the standing of the plaintiff Company or its promoter or family members has fallen in the esteem of the public,” it said.

Supreme Court judges D Y Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said they would not interfere with High Court’s interim order.

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