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Referring to Jayalalithaa as ‘J’ is disrespectful: Madras High Court

The criminal defamation was on a series of articles published by the newspaper criticising the then CM Jayalalithaa’s inaction in tackling the crisis after the Chennai floods in 2015.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
July 28, 2021 3:15:15 am
Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa passed away after a massive cardiac arrest in 2016.

Quashing a criminal defamation proceedings initiated by the previous AIADMK government against the Tamil daily Dinamalar, a Madras High Hourt order, however, said the newspaper referring to the former Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa as ‘J’ in a news article was disrespectful.

The criminal defamation was on a series of articles published by the newspaper criticising the then CM Jayalalithaa’s inaction in tackling the crisis after the Chennai floods in 2015.

While the court observed that the case against the newspaper for allegedly defaming the reputation of Jayalalithaa was not in any way touching upon the conduct of the aggrieved person in discharge of her public function, it said that referring to Jayalalithaa as ‘J’ was disrespectful.

Directing the newspaper to “refrain from printing matters in a disrespectful manner,” the court noted: “It (news report) has been stated ‘J’, when the said person was the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and should have been addressed as Hon’ble Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and not as ‘J’. While printing and publishing matters with regard to the leaders of the country or state, the petitioners are supposed to give respect and address them accordingly.”

Maintaining that the allegation against the newspaper only can be construed as a personal defamation, the court said the complaint that was filed by the city public prosecutor against the newspaper cannot be maintained since it does not satisfy the requirements of Section 199(2) of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the court added. The case has been pending since 2016.

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