CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has stayed all proceedings in a criminal defamation case filed against Chennai-based activist Jayaram Venkatesan.
The defamation case was filed by the city public prosecutor on behalf of Municipal Administration minister SP Velumani. Justice Anand Venkatesh granted the injunction on Monday while passing interim orders on a criminal original petition filed by from the activist from the NGO Arappor Iyakkam.
The defamation case is pending before the principal sessions court here. The stay will be in force till the disposal of the present petition. The high court also dispensed with the personal appearance of Jayaram before the sessions court and posted the matter for further hearing after eight weeks.
According to the complaint, the statement was given to a Tamil TV channel by Jayaram on December 7, 2018, was per se defamatory, scandalous and disparaging. The highly provocative statement was made deliberately with the intention of causing harm to the minister's reputation.
The statement related to various contracts given by the Municipal Administration department, headed by Velumani. Petitioner's counsel V Suresh contended that the complaint is a deliberate attempt to silence the petitioner and other organisations, demanding transparency and accountability in government services.