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Karnataka High Court Quashes Private Complaint Against Kannada News Channel Alleging It Spoke Ill About Advocates' Fraternity

Mustafa Plumber
23 Jun 2022 1:15 PM GMT
Karnataka HC: Section 13 Of Notaries Act Bars From Taking Cognizance Of Offences Committed By Advocate/Notary Without Permission Of Central/State Government
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The Karnataka High Court has quashed defamation proceedings initiated against Public TV, a Kannada news channel, and HR Ranganath, Chief Patron of the channel, initiated based on a private complaint filed alleging that several media entities has spoken ill about the advocate's fraternity at large.

A single judge bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar allowed the petition and said,

"In the present case the allegation is that the petitioners-accused have spoken ill about the advocate's fraternity and the words complained of is not against the complainant in his individual capacity. Hence, the complainant is not an aggrieved person as enumerated under Section 198 of Cr.P.C., so as to maintain the complaint for the offence punishable under Sections 499 and 500 of IPC."

Advocate Bannadi Somanath Hegde had filed a private complaint u/s.200 of Cr.P.C. for the offence punishable under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code ('IPC), against the petitioners and other accused alleging that several media entities has spoken ill about the advocate's fraternity at large. The Magistrate after recording the sworn statement of the complainant took cognizance of the aforesaid offence and issued summons to the petitioners-accused among other accused.

Senior Advocate M.S.Shyam Sundar, for the petitioners submitted that the complainant is not an aggrieved person as defined under Section 499 of IPC, so as to maintain the complaint for the offence punishable under Section 499 of IPC.

Findings:

The bench noted the allegation in the complaint is that sections of Media have spoken ill about the advocate's fraternity which amounts to defamation under Section 499 and 500 of IPC. It referred to the Apex court judgment in the case of S Khushboo v. Kanniammal & Anr, where it was held as follows:

"So as to attract the offence punishable under Sections 499 and 500 of IPC, 'an essential element of the cause of action for defamation that the words complained of should be published "of the complainant/plaintiff". Where he is not named, the test would be whether the words would reasonably lead people acquainted with him to the conclusion that he was the person referred to."

Accordingly, the bench said, "The complainant is not an aggrieved person as enumerated under Section 198 of Cr.P.C., so as to maintain the complaint for the offence punishable under Sections 499 and 500 of IPC" and allowed the quashing petition.

Case Title: PUBLIC TV (KANNADA NEWS CHANNEL) and ANR v. BANNADI SOMANATH HEGDE

Case No: WRIT PETITION NO.10262 OF 2019

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 225

Date Of Order: 1ST DAY OF JUNE, 2022

Appearance: Senior Advocate M.S.SHYAM SUNDAR, FOR Advocate PRASANNA KUMAR, for petitioners.

Click Here To Read/Download Order



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