Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday refused to back down over the defamation cases filed by her government against some opposition leaders and media houses.
Responding to Deputy Opposition Leader Panruti S Ramachandran’s plea that the government go soft on such cases, Jayalalithaa took a strong stance saying these cases would teach those in public life to be more responsible with their words.
“A number of defamation cases have been filed by the government against newspapers, media houses, the former Chief Minister and the current Opposition Leader among others. I urge the CM to examine these and keep only the worst ones and dispose of a majority of the cases. Such a move would give rise to a healthy political culture,” he said, while speaking in the Assembly on the demand for grants of the Police and Fire & Rescue Services Departments, which are held by the CM.
Responding to this request, Jayalalithaa politely held her ground. “It is only in the extreme circumstances that cases have been filed. Those in public life, and who are leaders of political parties, must show restraint in what they say. They must be conscious of where and when they are speaking and measure each word accordingly. If they blurt out whatever comes to mind, then they will naturally face defamation cases,” she said.
Jayalalithaa added that the cases were not born out of personal animosity, but out of the need to respect the fact that the government has been chosen by the people of the State. If slander against the government is taken without a response, then it would be tantamount to becoming the truth, she said.
“Those in public life must have patience, discipline and restraint. If patience, discipline and restraint are not present by nature, it is to inculcate these things that the defamation cases have been filed,” Jayalalithaa added.
Meanwhile, Ramachandran requested the Chief Minister to take steps so that DMDK MLA Arun Subramaniam, who is under arrest for land grabbing, can return to the House. Jayalalithaa rejected Ramachandran’s demand, saying the legislator had been arrested on land grab charges and that nothing out of the way would be done to ensure his release.
She pointed out that some AIADMK cadre were also in jail on land grab charges and that her government was taking a balanced approach to deal with land grab.