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Senior police officer entitled to damages of Rs.10 lakh: court

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has said that a senior police officer is entitled to damages of Rs.10 lakh from the Editor of a Tamil magazine, which published libellous and defamatory information about him.

In his judgment allowing a claim by the officer for compensation of Rs.10 lakh towards the damages caused to his reputation, Justice V. Periya Karuppiah said the court had found that A.S. Mani, Editor of Naveena Netrikan, had published libellous and defamatory information against S.R. Jangid, (then) Additional Commissioner of Police, Chennai Police, (at present Commissioner of Police, Chennai Suburban Police). He had not verified the truth and correctness before it was published.

The court had found that there was neither good intention nor good faith in publishing a letter by Nagaimugan, which was published only with the intention of blackmailing Mr. Jangid into withdrawing a case pending against him (Mr. Mani) in Pallikaranai police station.

In his suit, Mr. Jangid stated that an article in the magazine in 2007 purported to make public a personal letter alleged to have been addressed to him by Mr. Nagaimugan. He had not received such a letter. The allegations were false and defamatory.

He had taken independent action against the named author of the article by an independent suit. Mr. Mani as a printer, publisher and editor was equally liable for the false allegations.

Mr. Justice Periya Karuppiah said considering the evidence produced by Mr. Jangid, the court could see that the intention of Mr. Mani was “to harm the reputation of the plaintiff…”

Mr. Justice Periya Karuppiah said Mr. Jangid was also entitled to a permanent injunction against the defendant from publishing any news which were untrue and defamatory against the plaintiff. “The plaintiff… should not be disturbed by similar defamatory articles published by the defendant.”

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