The Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissed a Rs 100 crore defamation petition filed by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) against Moneylife magazine, founded by Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal.
A single bench of high court also directed NSE to pay Rs 50 lakh in damages. According to the high court order, the National Stock Exchange will have to pay Rs 1.5 lakh each as damages to Basu and Dalal.
Apart from this the stock exchange will also have to pay Rs 23.5 lakh each to Tata Memorial Hospital and Masina Hospital as donations within two weeks of the high court order.
“The motion is dismissed. Since we have not received the final copy from the court, we are not in a position to comment further. However, it goes without saying that, whatever is the court order, NSE will respect that,” said the official spokesperson of NSE.
The court said that there is no case of defamation as NSE was given several opportunities to respond to an article on the stock exchange before it was published. Almost a month after Moneylife reported that a few investors had fixed the high frequency trade (HFT) or algorithm based trading in the NSE and thereby jeopardised the interest of retail investors, the exchange on 21 July filed a defamation case against the magazine with a claim of Rs 100 crore.
The magazine had earlier published article on Algo trading based on a whistleblower’s letter to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that it said was also copied to Dalal. The letter detailed how certain institutions registered for HFT were allegedly allowed to profit illegally by the exchange’s insiders. The exchange has sought withdrawal of these reports.