HC restrains P.A. Sangma from using defamatory statement against Meghalaya CM

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Thursday restrained former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma from repeating defamatory statements against Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul M. Sangma.

Justice Manmohan Singh, accepting Mukul Sangma’s submission that P.A. Sangma — who is also a former chief minister of Meghalaya — had made defamatory statement against him, granted ex-parte ad-interim order against him and two media houses.

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Mukul Sangma, who filing the defamation case lawsuit against P.A. Sangma, sought damages of Rs.25 crore for the latter making the derogatory statements.

In the order, the court said: “It is correct that freedom of expression in press and media is the part of Article 19(1) of the constitution, where by all the citizens have a right to express their view.

“However, the said right of the expression is also not absolute but is subjected to the reasonable restrictions imposed by the parliament or state in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India….”

“The right of press and its freedom to express the ideas in public has always been the integral part of healthy democracy and the prior restrain on the publication was considered to be acceptable under the earlier line of authorities.

“The courts have always indicated that the line of fine balance is required to made so that the liberty of press should be uncontrolled or regulated by the laws,” the court said while restraining two media houses from publishing and telecasting the statement.

It said the chief minister’s image would be tarnished, which is irreparable in future even in monetary terms, if there would be repeat of the derogatory statement.

The derogatory statement was made by P.A. Sangma against Mukul Sangma Jan 17, 19, and June 4, 2014.