Is it possible to get Rs 100 crore through defamation cases?

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Is it possible to get Rs 100 crore through defamation cases?

Rahul Chanda | June 25, 2018 15:27 hrs

GUWAHATI: State cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Thursday, said that he has filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against a national Hindi news channel which accused him of having links with self-styled political and power broker, Anuj Poddar. 

“I am outraged by a @abpnewstv news report linking me to a person whom I have never met or known in my life. [The] @abpnewstv news report has defamed me in public light. I have filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against ABP News before the civil judge, Sr division, Kamrup district, Guwahati,” Himanta tweeted.  

 Himanta had earlier dragged former chief minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi, to court for making baseless and untrue allegations against him that included accusing him of being involved in the Saradha and Louis Berger bribery scams. 

 

There are many other Rs 100 crore defamation cases filed in the country but the question remains: do the winners get Rs 100 crores?

A senior advocate of Gauhati High Court said, “No one till date has got Rs 100 crores after filing a defamation case.” 

In most of the cases, both the parties compromise on the issue and mostly the defendant apologises to the complainant, said the lawyer. 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Arvind Kejriwal moved joint petitions before a Delhi court in April 2018 to settle a two-year-old defamation suit after the Delhi chief minister submitted a written apology to Jaitley for calling him corrupt. “Though we belong to two different political parties, I believe that we should end the unsavoury litigations between us..." wrote Kejriwal, who had gone on an apology spree to extricate himself from a slew of defamation suits.

In the case between Himanta and Tarun Gogoi, an order of injunction was passed with a prayer to the former chief minister restraining him from making further statements in the future.

The advocate of Gauhati High Court said, “It is very tough to prove defamation cases, especially if the case is related to media reports.” 

In India, defamation is both a civil and criminal offence. The remedy for a civil defamation is covered under the Law of Torts. In a civil defamation case, a person who is defamed can move either the High Court or subordinate courts and seek damages in the form of monetary compensation from the accused. Also, under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC, a person guilty of criminal defamation can be sent to jail for two years.

The lawyer said that mostly complainants file civil defamation suits and later the complainants withdraw their cases after receiving an apology or some out-of-court settlement, the lawyer said.

The city-based advocate said that the cases take long to deliver verdicts and so, in maximum cases, out-of-court settlements are common. Sometimes the complainant withdraws the case after the defendant gives a written apology. 

The lawyer asserted, “No one till date has got Rs 100 crores.”  

It requires non-judicial stamp papers worth Rs 11,000 to file a defamation case and one can seek monetary compensation as per one’s status in the society, another lawyer of Gauhati High Court said. 

Another lawyer said that defamation cases are mostly a tactic people opt for to keep their reputation clean in the society. 


Some major Rs 100 crore defamation cases in India

Complainant

Defendant

Issue

STATUS

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP Chief Amit Shah, its chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa and BJP

For making baseless, false and untrue remarks such as accusing Karnataka for initiating the culture of “ease of committing murder”

Case ongoing

Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma

ABP News TV

Defaming the minister in public light by connecting him to Delhi based power broker Anuj Poddar  

Suit recently filed

BJP President Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah

Journalist Rohini Singh

BJP President’s son accused ‘The Wire’ journalist for alleging financial irregularities involved in his business transactions

The Supreme Court asked 'The Wire' and its scribes, to try to amicably settle the criminal defamation case lodged by the former against the news portal and others

Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma

Ex-Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi

Baseless and untrue allegations against the GDD Minister such as him being involved in the Saradha and the Louis Berger bribery scams

An order of injunction was passed with a prayer to the former minister refraining him to make further statements in the future

The National Stock Exchange (NSE)

Moneywise Media Pvt Ltd

Accused for the publication of a whistle-blower’s letter in Moneylife’s web portal that laid bare how certain NSE officials were giving undue advantage to specific brokers in their co-location facility set up for high-frequency trading

NSE withdrew their case

Mumbai-based journalist Jawahar Nadar

Makers of the movie ‘Kaala’

Jawahar Nadar's lawyer accused Rajnikanth of portraying his late father S Thiraviam Nadar in bad light

The Madras High Court dismissed the petition filed against actor Rajnikanth starrer “Kaala” after observing that an affidavit filed along with the petition was bereft of particulars to substantiate the litigant’s claim that the movie was based on the life of Dhiraviya Nadar alias Kuduvala Sait and that it projects the latter in wrong light

Minister of Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley

Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal

For remarks made by AAP leaders' ex-lawyer Ram Jethmalani accusing Jaitley of irregularities and financial bungling during his 13-year tenure as president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association

The Delhi High Court disposed off the defamation suit after Kejriwal offered a written apology to Jaitley

 

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