Friday, February 23, 2024

Supreme Court stays proceedings against BJP leader Murugan in defamation case by Murasoli Trust

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The Supreme Court has stayed the trial court proceedings against Union Minister L Murugan, which were initiated against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader for stating during a press meet that operations of Murasoli Trust were being carried out from the land meant for Dalits in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The Bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra further issued notice to Murasoli Trust, the mouthpiece publication of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), on Wednesday.

Murugan had moved the Apex Court against the September 5 order of the Madras High Court, which refused to quash the criminal defamation case filed against him and also directed the trial court to complete the trial within three months.

Filed by Advocate Geet Ahuja, Murugan’s plea termed the defamation complaint as an abuse of the criminal justice process. It further questioned the maintainability of the complaint on the grounds that Murugan’s statement did not amount to defamation.

Murugan was represented in the Apex Court by Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave, along with Advocates Geet Ahuja, Nachiketa Joshi and Pranav Praneet.

Advocate Devyani Gupta appeared for the Murasoli Trust.

On September 5, the single-judge Bench of Justice N Anand Venkatesh had refused to quash the trial court proceedings on the grounds that the Minister’s statements may be comprehended as questioning the right and title of the property in question.

The High Court noted that it could not go into the merits of the case at the current stage and directed a special court for cases related to the MPs and MLAs in Chennai to complete the trial within three months.

It further granted liberty to the Union Minister to raise his defence before the special court, stating that it should be considered on its own merits.

The Counsel for Murugan had argued before the High Court that since the alleged defamatory statement was not made against the trust, no case was made out.

(Case details: Dr L Murugan vs Murasoli Trust)

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