Bengaluru: A civil court on Monday temporarily restrained 45 media organisations from broadcasting defamatory material against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Madal Virupakshappa and his son Prashanth Kumar MV, who are currently facing bribery charges.
Judge Balagopalakrishna observed that a mere raid by the Lokayukta police on Prashanth Kumar MV’s office could not imply that he and the MLA both are involved in a corruption scandal as reported by Bar&bench.
“Merely, the Lokayukta police has raid the office of the plaintiff No.2 and seized bundle of notes, cannot give inference that both the plaintiffs are involved in the huge corruption scandal. Merely, amount is seized is not a ground to come to conclusion that, the plaintiffs are rank corrupts,” the Court stated.
A complaint against Virupakshappa and his son was made by one Shreyas Kashyap, who owns a partnership company called Chemicals Corporation in Bengaluru, after having successfully participated in the tender process in January 2023 to supply chemical oil to Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited (KSDL), where the MLA is the chairman.
Kashyap complained to the Lokayukta Police that the MLA and his son had demanded a bribe of ₹81 lakh to release the mandate and money.
Lokayukta Police conducted a raid and arrested five people including Prashanth, while the contractor was delivering a ₹40 lakh bribe to a private office on Crescent Road in Kumara Park on Thursday evening.
The MLA was granted interim bail on Tuesday.
The accused approached the civil court claiming that 46 media companies were broadcasting defamatory material against them. They informed the court that some channels were holding panel discussions where their character was being assassinated without verification of facts. Hence, they sought a gag order.
Their main grievance was that the discussions were affecting their goodwill and were being held at the behest of an opposing political party.
The Court observed that calling the accused corrupt was acceptable, but broadcasting the same in various news channels and conducting panel discussions was nothing but character assassination, that too when the matter is being investigated.
Mere saying that, plaintiffs are corrupt is acceptable, but off and often broadcasting the same in various news channels owned by the defendants and conducting panel discussions is nothing, but an assassination of character of plaintiffs, that to when the matter is being investigated by the Lokayuktha police under Constitution. Living in a dignity is also a Constitutional right,” it said.
It further said that the media can make true publications, based on material, but should not broadcast news as per their ‘whims and fancies’ based solely on people’s statements in order to ‘help other wings’.
“No doubt, the media people can also make publications, if there is a truth. The same shall be subject to verification whether it contains truth or not and they should possess material. Merely, on the basis of the statement given by the persons the defendants shall not broadcast a news as per their whims and fancies in order to help the other wings. The Constitutional right given to the media should not be misused by them,” the Court said.
Therefore, the Court held that the media companies were broadcasting the material only to harm the good will of society without ascertaining the truth and accordingly issued an order temporarily restraining them from broadcasting defamatory material against the MLA and his son until the next date of hearing.
Bengaluru Advocates’ Assn has also slammed the VIP treatment for BJP MLA in bail case. The Advocates’ Association said that while the High Court’s usual practice is to take days and weeks for anticipatory bail postings, MLA Virupakshappa’s plea was heard within one day.
[…] March 2023, BJP MLA Virupakshappa Madal’s son Prashant Madal was caught by the Lokayukta while receiving a bribe of 40 lakh rupees in connection with the award of a tender for supply of […]