Decided on December 11,1970

In Re: M.K.T. Subramaniam, And Another Appellant
STATE Respondents


Maharajan, J. - (1.) THESE four appeals are against convictions under S. 500, I.P.C. in respect of matters published in three different issues of the Tamil Daily "Jayakodi". The appeals were heard jointly and may be conveniently disposed of by a common judgment, since some of the questions of law raised are common to all the appeals.
(2.) THE accused in Crl. Ap. No. 327 of 1970 from C.C. 11 of 1969 on the file of the Court of Session, Madras division, is admittedly the Editor, Publisher and Printer of the Tamil Daily 'Jayakodi'. In the front page of its issue of the 14th March, 1969, there appeared an article Ex. P -4 (a), under banner headlines sweeping in bold type across the whole page, punctuated with insinuating interrogation and exclamation marks, attacking Mr. Karunanidhl, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and Ministers, Mr. Mathiazhagan, Mr. Muthuswami Mrs. Satyavanimuthu. The relevant passage in the article may be translated as follows. Have purchased abundance of lands and estates? Ferocious Decolty D.M.K. Ministers are apportioning Tamil Nadu Itself among themselves Property worth several lakhs Barbarity of vying with one another in making purchases They are cheating the people Suppressing the truth The integrity of the Ministers is exposed Undersouth these screaming headlines, the article proceeds to make certain sensational disclosures, which ought to arrest the attention of the dullest reader, and before making the disclosures, the Editor assures the reader: The news items we publish in 'Jayakodi' are strictly scrutinised before publication. Not only that. We approach all issues with the audacity to face the consequences, whatever the consequences may be.
(3.) HAVING thus conditioned the reader into accepting the veracity and authenticity of the information that follows, the Editor (for it may be presumed from the editorial 'We' used in the article that it is the Editor himself who is speaking), makes the following pre -factory remarks: It is the rule that public men should labour to safeguard the welfare of the public. Bat the D.M.K. Ministers of today act as champions of their own self interest and accumulate super abundant wealth. This shall not be permitted. What will happen to the country if these in power regard it as their hunting ground. Fair minded people should reflect on all these things.;

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