Kalyan Rai Surana, J. -
(1.) Heard Mr. R.S. Chouhan, the learned advocate for the appellant as well as Mr. U.B. Sarma, the learned advocate, for the respondents.
(2.) By this appeal under section 96 CPC, the appellant has challenged the judgment and decree dated 08.04.2010 passed by the learned Civil Judge, Sonitpur, Tezpur in Money Suit No. 9/2007, by which the suit filed by the appellant, seeking a sum of Rs.20.00 Crore as damages from the respondents for publishing a series of defamatory and libelous news items in Asomiya Pratidin, an Assamese language daily dated 27.06.2003, was dismissed.
(3.) The case of the appellant in the plaint was that at the relevant time, he was the elected Member of the Legislative Assembly of Assam from 75 Sootea Legislative Assembly Constituency in the 7th Assembly of the State of Assam. Bereft of details, inter-alia, it was pleaded that he is highly respected and popular person from the Bodo- Kachari Community and having done many developmental works for the State in general and his Constituency in particular, he was loved and respected by all sections of people. However, his prestige, good name, image, reputation and respect in the society had considerably suffered loss because of false, baseless, malicious, libelous and defamatory news article, which was prominently published in the Asomiya Pratidin, inter-alia, in its editions dated 18.03.2006, 25.03.2006, 01.04.2006, 02.04.2006, 03.04.2006, 05.04.2006, 07.04.2006, 08.04.2006, 11.04.2006, 13.04.2006, 22.04.2006, 28.04.2006, 12.03.2007, which was simultaneously published from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, North Lakhimpur and Bongaigaon Districts of Assam. It was stated that by continuous printing, publishing and circulating the false, baseless, motivated, slanderous, malicious, and defamatory news against him, the appellant had been defamed before the public, thereby his prestige, goodwill, good-name and good-fame was lowered in the estimation of others, thereby influencing the voters against him in the election, leading to his defeat. Therefore, claiming that the cause of action for the suit arose on the various dates as mentioned in the two suits, the appellant had prayed for a decree of Rs.20.00 Crore as damages and compensation for defamation and for decree directing the respondents to publish apology in the front page of their newspaper, for interest and costs, etc.;