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Allahabad High Court quashes criminal proceedings against Prabhu Chawla, Aroon Purie initiated under Cable Television Networks Act

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The Allahabad High Court has quashed criminal proceedings going in the court of the Judicial Magistrate, Azamgarh, against Editorial Director of The New Indian Express Prabhu Chawla, Editor-in-Chief of India Today Aroon Purie and Balakrishna.

A Single Bench of Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery passed this order while hearing an application under Section 482 filed by Bal Krishna and others.

The Court appreciates the gesture shown by complainant Dr Santosh Kumar Singh present in person in Court and that he with an open heart has exercised “forgiveness”.

The matter is arising out of a programme aired by a news channel telecast during prime time at 8.30 pm (on 26.06.2005) and 12.30 pm (on 27.06.2005), wherein serious allegations were made against the complainant that he was involved in a case of kidnapping and murder of one Rungta, which not only lowered his image, dignity and status in public at large, especially in area wherein he has a respectful image, being an elected representative (Member of Parliament).

In these circumstances, Singh filed a complaint against applicants for offence under Section 500, 501, 420 and 120-B IPC and Section 16 of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, thereafter statement of complainant under Sections 200 CrPC and statement of witnesses under Section 202 CrPC were recorded, however, on 04.01.2006, the complaint was dismissed under Section 203 CrPC. The complainant moved a revision petition against this, which was allowed and the matter was remanded back for fresh consideration and thereafter on 20.07.2007, applicants, viz, Bal Krishna, Prabhu Chawla and Aroon Purie were summoned under Section 500, 420 and 120-B IPC and Section 16 of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.

The applicants being aggrieved by above order have filed above referred application wherein on 29.08.2007, the Court stayed further proceedings of Complaint Case at Azamgarh.

In pursuance of above orders, applicants, viz, Bal Krishna, Prabhu Chawla and Arun Purie in respective applications have filed affidavits wherein they have tendered their unconditional and unqualified apology to complainant Dr Santosh Kumar Singh and further agreed that an apology will be scrolled on concerned news channel four times during 48 hours on agreed dates on a mutual agreement.

On December 06, Imran Ullah, counsel for applicants, on instructions, also submitted that parties will abide by their affidavits and they have repeated their unconditional apology as well as they undertake that agreed trickle scroll shall be played on agreed date and time.

Amrendra Nath Singh, Senior Advocate for complainant has narrated that his position and image was lowered down due to unconfirmed story was played but finally he agreed to accept unqualified apology of applicants.

The Court directed this manuscript shall be trickled on 17.12.2022 and 18.12.2022 on concerned news channel at least four times i.e between 8- 8.30 AM, 2-2.30 PM, 8-8.30 PM and 10-10.30 PM and it shall be scrolled at least five times within aforesaid each time slot.

The Court appreciates that both parties have agreed to above referred terms and has given quietus to dispute.

In view of above, proceedings of Criminal Complaint under Sections 500/501/120-B IPC and Section 16 of Cable Television Network and Regulation Act, 1995, pending before Judicial Magistrate-I, Azamgarh are hereby quashed by High Court.

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