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Friday, June 21, 2024

SC stays defamation proceedings against India Today journalists

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the order of the Karnataka High Court which refused to stay the criminal defamation proceedings against India Today group editor Aroon Purie and journalists Rajdeep Sardesai and Shiv Aroor over a sting operation aired by the media outlet in 2016 on an alleged cash-for-votes scam.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra, while staying the defamation proceedings against the three journalists, sought the response of the Karnataka government.

The news published by India Today indicated that certain MPs in Karnataka were being bribed in exchange for votes ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in 2016.

Former state legislator BR Patil, who was among the legislators accused of improprieties in the sting operation report, filed a criminal defamation case against Arun Poorie, Rajdeep Sardesai, and Shiv Aroor the same year.

In December 2023, the Karnataka High Court refused to stay the defamation proceedings against the senior journalists.

On December 18, High Court Judge R Nataraj passed his judgment, noting that the accused India Today show had telecast “doctored graphics” and made derogatory remarks against BR Patil.

The High Court concluded that the offense of making a false electronic record to harm the complainant’s reputation, which is punishable under Section 469 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), was made out.

These allegations required further investigation, the High Court had said but refused to quash the case.

The High Court order was challenged before the Supreme Court.

Senior Advocate Dr S Muralidhar appeared for all three journalists accused in the defamation case.

The Supreme Court, while staying the Defamation proceedings, sent a notice to the Karnataka Government and asked them to reply by July.

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