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Karnataka court grants temporary injunction on publishing defamatory, unverified news against 6 ministers

The ministers in the Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa-led cabinet had moved the court on Friday seeking an injunction.

By: PTI | Bengaluru |
Updated: March 6, 2021 11:12:11 pm
Health Minister K SudhakarHealth Minister K Sudhakar was among the six who had moved court seeking an injunction. (Twitter: @mla_sudhakar)

A city court on Saturday issued a temporary injunction against media organisations from telecasting or publishing of any defamatory and unverified news items against six Karnataka ministers.

The ministers in the Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa-led cabinet had moved the court on Friday seeking an injunction.

Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge D S Vijaya Kumar in the order said in his opinion it is necessary to injunct telecasting or publishing of any unverified news items against the plaintiffs/applicants.

“Therefore, till the next date of hearing, defendants/opponents are hereby restrained by an Interim-Order of temporary injunction…”
They are restrained from broadcasting, telecasting or publishing or letting in circulation or posting or accommodating or transmitting or circulating any defamatory news items or showing footages and pictures referring to the plaintiffs in relation to alleged CDs, the court ordered.

They are also restrained from committing any act or intentional omission which thereby causes character assassination of the plaintiffs on the basis of the unverified material, it said.

The six ministers who approached the court are Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar, Agriculture Minister B C Patil, Cooperation Minister S T Somashekar, Health Minister K Sudhakar, Youth Empowerment and Sports Minister K C Narayana Gowda and Urban Development Minister Bhyrathi Basavaraj.

The six had instituted the suit against 68 defendants, mostly media organizations, for the relief of permanent injunction. The six ministers are among the 17 MLAs who had rebelled against the then Congress-JD(S) coalition government, leading to its fall in July 2019 and paving way for the BJP to come to power.

Disqualified from their respective parties- Congress and JDS, the MLAs had subsequently joined the BJP, contested bypolls in December 2019 on the saffron party tickets and were made ministers after winning the polls.

Ramesh Jarkiholi, who recently resigned as a minister amid allegations of sexual harassment after the emergence of a sleaze CD, had also defected to the BJP along with 16 MLAs and had become a minister.

The ministers earlier on Saturday had said their moving the court was a precautionary measure amid a “big political conspiracy” against them. They also indicated that more ministers may take similar steps.

Health Minister Sudhakar alleged there seems to be a big political conspiracy to defame them by misusing the media, and they have approached court to prevent this hit-and-run smear campaign.

Cooperation Minister S T Somashekar said “we have come to know from our old friends in the assembly about the conspiracy to target us with an intent to defame and make us resign.”

“There is a conspiracy to target during the assembly session with an intent to defame us, so as a precautionary measure we have approached the court, six of us have gone, another six may also go, totally 15-16 of us, who have come to (BJP) as there is apprehension about attempt to defame us. So, we have sought court protection,” he told reporters.

He claimed they will get to know in two to three days who is behind it and will make it public.

Agriculture Minister B C Patil pointed out that he has come up in politics without any godfather and some people were not able to digest it.
“With apprehensions about an attempt to defame us as part of political conspiracy by some conspirators, we have approached the court as precautionary measure,” he said in a tweet.

Minister Byrathi Basavaraj said they have approached court as there is a conspiracy being hatched against them. “We have not done anything wrong,” Basavaraj said.

Earlier in the day, state Home minister Basavaraj Bommai said few ministers have sought protection from the court anticipating about attempts to defame them or interfere in their personal life and thereby create political unrest in the state.

“After Ramesh Jarkiholi issue, lot of speculations, suspicion and conspiracies, talks of honey trap and other things are going on and it has been discussed in the media too. So, there are apprehensions about attempts to defame certain other ministers and legislators,” he told reporters.

“Based on the complaint in the Ramesh Jarkiholi case investigation is going on. However, information that the complainant had to share and statement that the woman (in the video) has to give, has not happened yet.”

“So, there is suspicion of a conspiracy, that’s the reason some (Ministers) are seeking protection by law,” he said, adding that police will also investigate from all angles.

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