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What was the defamation case against slain journalist Gauri Lankesh?

The two cases against Gauri Lankesh were filed by the three-term BJP MP from Dharwad, Prahlad Joshi, and his personal secretary Umesh Dushi.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: September 7, 2017 11:09 am
Gauri Lankesh, Gauri Lankesh murder, journalist murder, Gauri Lankesh defamation case, BJP case against Gauri Lankesh, Gauri Lankesh BJP, BJP, Indian Express On November 28 last year, Gauri Lankesh was convicted in two separate cases of criminal defamation brought by two BJP leaders (Express Photo/Pradip Das)

On November 28 last year, Gauri Lankesh — who was shot dead in Bengaluru on Tuesday — was convicted in two separate cases of criminal defamation brought by two BJP leaders against the Kannada tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike, which she owned, published and edited. The court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC-II) V L Amar in the north Karnataka town of Hubbali sentenced her to six years’ imprisonment, and fined her Rs 10,000 in each case. She was given bail while she appealed in a higher court.

A reporter, Devanand Jagapur, who was also accused of criminal defamation under IPC Section 500 in one of the two cases, was acquitted after the complainants failed to prove his link to the article, and after Gauri Lankesh stated he was not associated with the paper.

The two cases against Gauri Lankesh were filed by the three-term BJP MP from Dharwad, Prahlad Joshi, and his personal secretary Umesh Dushi in connection with an article published on Page 6 of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike’s January 23, 2008 issue.

The article titled “Darodege Illida BJP galu (BJP men involved in criminal activities)” named three persons from Hubli — Shivnath Bhat, Venkatesh Mestri and Umesh Dushi — and alleged they were involved in cheating a businessman in the city. It also imputed Joshi’s involvement, and carried his picture.

Gauri Lankesh challenged the case and obtained a stay, but her plea was subsequently dismissed by Karnataka High Court, and the JMFC court was asked to conduct the trial. In October last year, she was arrested on the basis of a warrant issued by the court for not appearing before it, but was released on bail.

In her statement recorded under CrPC Section 313, Gauri Lankesh said the article was not intended to defame the MP. She also argued in court that Joshi’s reputation had not been damaged, since he had gone on to win the Dharwad seat in spite of its publication.

In its judgment, the court said: “…It is essential that the persons who is responsible for publication should take good care and caution before publishing the articles… which tends harm the reputation of a person. The editor and publisher are bound to take due care and caution before making libellous statement… The first duty of the law is to protect the personal reputation and to adequately punish those who falsely and maliciously attempted to destroy [it]… The persons reputation is a property and if possible more valuable than other property (sic).”

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  1. P
    Pitambar Sharma
    Sep 8, 2017 at 7:19 am
    Poor lady is dead so we should be charitable and I will try to be. Sickular jihadi Marxist people have this sanctimonious at ude that they can defame anybody. Not good and I am glad that the court is setting proper limits.
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    1. Raman Govindan
      Sep 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm
      her death by murder is regretted. but character assassination by media without proof is also to be assailed.
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      1. F
        fed up
        Sep 7, 2017 at 10:15 am
        Is this Balaji guy serious ? Someone publishes an article and you kill them ? How else can someone interpret " consequences for irritating someone "??? And why are you dragging values and God into this ?
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        1. Sai Ram
          Sep 7, 2017 at 10:53 am
          How do you feel someone publishes an article saying bad things about your wife? Was it proved that BJP MP killed her?
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        2. W
          Walter Charles Conway
          Sep 7, 2017 at 10:08 am
          In a country where many women are considered second class citizens,I wouldn't believe anything a man said against her in court. Also, how many judges of the court were women ?
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          1. P
            Pitambar Sharma
            Sep 8, 2017 at 7:21 am
            What an ic comment. So if I commit a crime and the judge that punishes me is Muslim or Christian, I can challenge the judgment.
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          2. B
            Balaji
            Sep 7, 2017 at 8:47 am
            Today's journalists are also not less than any business man. All the time they are searching for the stunning news for the sake of their personal gain. In the search of the news they are forgetting their prime ethic which is clearly understood in the judgment. Education teaches us discipline responsibility. If we irritate somebody then we should be ready for some bad consequences. I am not justifying here the killing for the same but everybody should be within their safer limit. If We drive the car unsafe then we have to suffer for that . I feel respect for others is slowly disappearing from our education system ,is the root problem of the present society. Believing God Mainly Lord Krishna ,in true sense ,may be a solution for the pesent day problem. The famous declaration that "Sarve Vabantu Sukhinah" is a distant object in the present age. God will save us only.
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            1. Q
              qasim Khankhel
              Sep 7, 2017 at 11:56 am
              BJP is an ugly reality of secular India, she only performed rational analysis, the ugly face of India can no more be hidden from the world.
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              1. U
                usual suspect
                Sep 7, 2017 at 1:41 pm
                BJP is result of Muslim gundagardi in India. where ever Muslim are living, They have conflict with majority community and its culture.
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