Mangaluru, Dec 22, 2016: As per reports, High Court of Karnataka has quashed a defamation case filed by the former Minister Krishna J. Palemar against the Chairman and the Managing Director of Mangaluru-based Chitra Publications Pvt. Ltd. that publishes a Kannada daily, Karavali Ale.
Justice Anand Byrareddy passed the order while allowing the petitions filed by B.V. Seetaram and Rohini Seetaram, who are the Chairman and Director, and the Managing Director of the publication house, respectively.
The petitioners had questioned the order passed by a magistrate court in Mangaluru that had taken cognisance of an offence against them based on the complaint of Palemar, who had said that the newspaper had published a series of “false and defamatory” articles against him during August 2015 and April 2016. Apart from naming Seetaram and Rohini as accused, Palemar had named the editor of that newspaper but had contended it was the petitioners who were actually editing the contents of the newspaper.
The court pointed out that the Supreme Court had, in K.M. Mathew vs K.A. Abraham case, held that though it is the editor alone whose name is printed in the newspaper against whom criminal or civil cases could be initiated presuming him responsible for the publication of the contents under the provisions of the Press and Registration of Books Act 1867 and not against the chief editor, the resident editor or managing editor, the complainant could still allege and prove that the chief editor, resident editor or managing editor were responsible for the publication of the defamatory news item.
However, the High Court said that the Supreme Court’s finding in the K.M. Mathew vs K.A. Abraham case cannot be applied to posts such as the chairman, the director, or the managing director of a publication house when “the very idea of naming the editor of a newspaper is to hold him responsible for its content”.