Every Word Uttered By A Public Figure Matters: Madras HC Refuses To Quash Case Against BJP’s H. Raja For Remarks Against DMK Leaders
The Madras High Court has refused to quash the case against BJP leader H. Raja whereby he was alleged to have made scandalous remarks against DMK leaders.
H. Raja filed a criminal original petition before the court under Section 482 of Cr.PC. against the decision of the Judicial Magistrate for quashing the proceedings against him. The case pertains to the speech made by him in a meeting held at Dindigul.
A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh said, “A bare reading of the statement made by the petitioner shows that it is highly defamatory, scandalous and it demeans women since he has thrown mud on the wives of the Officials working in the HR & CE Department. On the face of it, it is condemnable and the petitioner cannot be allowed to get away from what he has said against the HR & CE Department, its officers and their wives. When a person expresses his anguish and such a person also happens to be a public figure, every word that is uttered matters. The expression of anguish should not result in making reprehensible and scandalous remarks against others.”
The Bench also said that the petitioner cannot be permitted to question the source of information in this case as the newspapers published his remarks the very next day.
Advocate R.C. Paul Kanagaraj appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Additional Public Prosecutor Babu Muthu Meeran appeared on behalf of the State.
The petitioner in a meeting held at Dindigul in the year 2018 made some insulting statements and derogatory remarks against those who were working in the HR & CE Department and demeaned the wives of those authorities working in the said department. He was a former member of Legislative Assembly and held an important position in a national party having many followers who get influenced by his words, thoughts, and deeds.
The petitioner was alleged to have made a public speech at Vedasanthoor Virudhunagar District in a Vinayagar Chaturthi function. The various officers belonging to the HR & CE Department were aggrieved by the scandalous statements made by the petitioner in the meeting and most of them came to know of it when it was published in the newspapers or when it was shared in the social media.
The High Court in view of the above facts observed, “The source of information for the scandalous remarks made by the petitioner are the newspapers which published it the very next day. The petitioner never made any statement disowning the allegation that was published in the newspaper or proceeded further against the newspaper, if really the petitioner did not make any such statement. In view of the same, the petitioner cannot be allowed to wriggle out of what he said on 17.09.2018 in the public meeting and the petitioner being an important political functionary is regularly followed by the media and whatever he speaks gets published in the newspaper. Hence, the petitioner cannot be permitted to question the source of information in this case.”
The Court noted that all the cases can be clubbed together and heard as a single case before the concerned court and accordingly, the proceedings can be directed to be transferred to the file of the Special Court for MP/MLA Cases and can be heard as a single case by the Special Judge, in accordance with law.
“The case files shall be transferred to the Special Court for MP/MLA Cases, Srivilliputhur, within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of copy of this order. The prosecution shall give the consolidated list of witnesses and the materials that are going to be relied upon before the Court and the same shall be served on the petitioner u/s.207 of Cr.P.C.”, directed the Court.
Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the criminal original petitions and directed that the proceedings shall be completed within three months after the charges are framed.
Cause Title- H. Raja v. The State & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2023:MHC:3930)