Congress’ social media chief Divya Spandana (Ramya) has been awarded damages of Rs 50 lakh after a defamation suit filed against a Kannada news channel was found to be true by the Bangalore City Civil Courts.
Ramya had filed the suit in 2013 against Asianet News Network Private Ltd and its Kannada subsidiary news channel Suvarna News 24×7 for featuring her in a news report and in a special programme titled ‘Betting Raniyaru’ (Betting Queens) in connection to the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scandal.
The news reports had then used photographs and videos of Ramya participating in various events related to IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) while she was associated with the team as its Brand Ambassador for the first five seasons of the IPL. However, the defendants had contended that no loss or damages were caused to Ramya as no direct reference to the latter was made in any of their programmes related to the same.
Contrary to this, according to the case filed by Ramya in September 2013, the show had made suggestive remarks through voice-overs and captions flashed on-screen at nine instances while the complainant’s photos were flashed in the background. Ramya had sought damages of Rs 10 crore from the media outlet but the judgment was passed considering the status of both the plaintiff and the defendant (Asianet News Network Private Ltd and Suvarna News 24×7).
A permanent injunction directing the media outlets to refrain from telecasting any programme linking Ramya to the match-fixing scandals without adequate proof is also part of the 52-page judgment by sessions Judge Patil Nagalinganagouda.
“This Court is of the opinion that act of the defendants is in complete violation of journalistic ethics and deliberately to destroy the popularity of the plaintiff and act of the defendant is mala fide with an intention to defame her dignity… Defendants or anybody claiming through defendants are hereby restrained from telecasting any such programme which relates the plaintiff without any proof directly, indirectly or in any manner whatsoever to the match fixing/spot fixing scandal by way of permanent injunction,” the judgment dated April 26, 2019 reads.
Ramya, also a former Lok Sabha MP from Mandya, had clarified that she was not part of IPL in 2013 as she was campaigning for the Congress in the light of the Karnataka legislative assembly elections held on May 5, 2013.