P. RAMASWAMI Vs. M. KARCNAAIDHI
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
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Somasundaram, J. -
(1.) THIS appeal is against the conviction and sentence for one year (S. I.) with a fine of Rs. 2000 imposed upon the Appellant by the learned Chief Presidency "Magistrate, Egmore, Madras. The charge was one of defamation and the prosecution was under Section 500 I.P.C.
(2.) THE Appellant is the Editor, printer and publisher of a Tamil weekly journal called 'Nathigam' which is printed and published in the 'Periyar Press' at Madras. The first Respondent herein was the Editor of a Tamil dally sailed "Murasoli" in the year 1967. He was also the Treasurer of the Dravida Munnatra Kazhagam, a political party in this States . He was a member of the Madras Legislative Assembly and in it he was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He was a partner in "Mekhala Pictures", a concern engaged in the production of films. He was also an incometax Assessee. Sometime is the month of Jane 1966, there was a conference of the Dravida Munnetra Kazahagam at Tiruchirapalli. This political party had also collected fends for the Gensral Elections held in February 1967.
On the 24th of June 1966, the Appellant published an article, with the Photograph of Thiru Karuaanidhi, the first Respondent herein making certain defamatory allegations against him. Tali was made under the caption "Conference funds Rs. 30,000 Collected -fraud (sic). Aabil, Became and Villain to Karunanidhi" The English Translation of this article is as below:
The funds collected openly for the election as election fund and the funds received surreptitiously from the Swatentra party and kept as black money in secret accounts, were taken and spent by Thiru Karunanidhi for the film "Marakka Mudiyuma" which was wader production by Mekhala Pictures, of which he is the owner. Not even a naya paisa of the funds, collected as such is now with aim. When that is the case, hew can he hand over the entire amount to the Committee of three persons?
Stating that these allegations were false and were published, actuated by malice, In utter lack of good faith, with intent to harm his reputation, the first Respondent filed a complaint in court under Section 500 I.P.C, This complaint was taken on file and process was issued, the Appellant appeared. The complainant as P.W. 1 deposed to his case. P.W. 2, Shsnmugham, the clerk -cum - accountant in the D.M.K. office, proved, with reference to cash books, ledgers and other vouchers, that every item collected and received was entered in the accounts and deposited in banks. P.W. 4, an advocate at Madurai, who had read the impugned article, stated that many of his friends asked him about the integrity and honesty of the complainant, in dealing with the election funds P.Ws. 6 and 7 also deposed to this effect.
(3.) WHEN the questioned in court, the Appellant admitted, that it was he who published the article, but stated that the accounts produced in court were forged and manufactured by the then General Secretary, Thiru C.N. Annadurai, in connivance with the other leaders of his party. He further asserted that the amounts were spent by P.W. 1 for the "Mekhala pictures" and that there was a later adjustment of the funds, after the gale of the picture "Marakka Mudiyuma". D.W. 1 deposed that he attended the conference at Tiruchirapalli and that some persons talked about the misappropriation and utilisation of the election funds by P.W. 1. D.W. 2, the Sub Editor of the Nathigam paper, stated that he visited Tiruchirapalli on 9th June 1966, that he gathered some news, that he learnt utilisation of the election funds and that it was he who wrote the article.;
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