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Karnataka High Court Rejects Devegowda's Plea To Reopen Defamation Suit For Producing Additional Evidence

Mustafa Plumber
19 Jan 2021 3:00 AM GMT
Karnataka High Court Rejects Devegowdas Plea To Reopen Defamation Suit For Producing Additional Evidence
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The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Rajya Sabha Member and former Prime Minister of India, H D Devegowda, seeking to quash a civil court disallowing him to adduce evidence at trial stage in a defamation suit, initiated against him. Justice Krishna S Dixit while rejecting the petition noted that "The suits founded on the tort of defamation need to be tried...

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The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Rajya Sabha Member and former Prime Minister of India, H D Devegowda, seeking to quash a civil court disallowing him to adduce evidence at trial stage in a defamation suit, initiated against him.

Justice Krishna S Dixit while rejecting the petition noted that "The suits founded on the tort of defamation need to be tried as expeditiously as possible; reputation, be it personal or occupational, for any person is sacrosanct."

It added "The Apex Court has ruled that the right to reputation is a facet of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The public memory being too short to be little, the claim for redressal for the hurt of reputation merits speedier consideration and ideally speaking, before the public memory fades. In defamation suits, award of damages in terms of money hardly constitutes a full recompense for the injury suffered. Delayed justice makes it still worse; this is an added reason for the speedy trial of such suits. They cannot be allowed to be dragged on indefinitely; this inarticulate premise having animated the decision of the learned trial judge's impugned order is not vulnerable for challenge."

The minister had challenged the order dated November 17, 2020, by which the civil court had rejected his applications filed serially & belatedly requesting for reopening the suit stage, so that he can lead his evidence.

M/S Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Limited had filed the suit against Deve gowda on June 27, 2012. The plaintiff claimed the damages in a sum of Rupees Ten Crore. The written Statement was filed on 13.08.2012 resisting the suit.Issues have been framed years ago; plaintiff's evidence was completed on 06.02.2019 and the matter was posted to 26.02.2019 for the defence evidence. However, the petitioner (Devegowda) & his counsel remained absent and therefore, his evidence was taken as nil. When the suit was posted for arguments, about a year thereafter the subject applications were moved once again, for reopening the suit stage.

The court in its order went through the memorandum of facts filed by Devegowda along with his application and considered the order of the trial court and said "The learned judge of the Court below having exercised his discretion in accordance with rules of reason & justice, has made the impugned order the kind of which does not merit a deeper examination at the hands of a Writ Court exercising a limited supervisory jurisdiction constitutionally vested in it by Article 227.

It added that "The opinion of the learned judge that the petitioner has been dragging on the suit proceeding is formed on the basis of what has been reflected in the Order Sheet; there is no reason to doubt the same; in matters like this, a Writ court cannot run a race of opinions with learned judges of the Courts below."

The court has now requested the trial judge to dispose off the subject suit within an outer limit of nine months, all contentions of the parties having been otherwise kept open.

Case Detail:

Case Title: H D DEVEGOWDA And M/S NANDI INFRASTRUCTURE CORRIDOR ENTERPRISE LIMITED,

Case No: WRIT PETITION NO.725 OF 2021

Date of Order: 15TH DAY OF JANUARY, 2021

Coram: Justice Krishna S Dixit

Appearance: Advocate PRAKASH G R for petitioner

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]




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