Karnataka Court Bars Media From Showing 'Defamatory' Content On 6 Ministers

The court barred media from showing any “defamatory” content against six Karnataka ministers.

Bengaluru:

A city court on Saturday issued a temporary injunction against media organisations from telecasting or publishing of any “defamatory” and unverified news items against six Karnataka ministers.

The ministers in the Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa-led cabinet had moved the court on Friday seeking an injunction.

Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge D S Vijaya Kumar in the order said in his opinion it is necessary to injunct telecasting or publishing of any unverified news items against the plaintiffs/applicants.

“Therefore, till the next date of hearing, defendants/opponents are hereby restrained by an Interim-Order of temporary injunction…”

“They are restrained from broadcasting, telecasting or publishing or letting in circulation or posting or accommodating or transmitting or circulating any defamatory news items or showing footages and pictures referring to the plaintiffs in relation to alleged CDs,” the court ordered.

“They are also restrained from committing any act or intentional omission which thereby causes character assassination of the plaintiffs on the basis of the unverified material,” it said.

The six ministers who approached the court are Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar, Agriculture Minister BC Patil, Cooperation Minister S T Somashekar, Health Minister K Sudhakar, Youth Empowerment and Sports Minister K C Narayana Gowda and Urban Development Minister Bhyrathi Basavaraj.

The six had instituted the suit against 68 defendants, mostly media organisations, for the relief of permanent injunction.

The six ministers are among the 17 MLAs who had rebelled against the then Congress-JD(S) coalition government, leading to its fall in July 2019 and paving way for the BJP to come to power.

Disqualified from their respective parties- Congress and JDS, the MLAs had subsequently joined the BJP, contested bypolls in December 2019 on the BJP tickets and were made ministers after winning the polls.

Ramesh Jarkiholi, who recently resigned as a minister amid allegations of sexual harassment after the emergence of a sleaze CD, had also defected to the BJP along with 16 MLAs and had become a minister.

The ministers earlier today had said their moving the court was a precautionary measure amid a “big political conspiracy” against them.

They also indicated that more ministers may take similar steps.

Health Minister Sudhakar alleged there seems to be a big political conspiracy to defame them by misusing the media, and they have approached court to prevent this hit-and-run smear campaign.

Cooperation Minister ST Somashekar said “we have come to know from our old friends in the assembly about the conspiracy to target us with an intent to defame and make us resign.”

“There is a conspiracy to target during the assembly session with an intent to defame us, so as a precautionary measure we have approached the court, six of us have gone, another six may also go, totally 15-16 of us, who have come to (BJP) as there is apprehension about attempt to defame us. So we have sought court protection,” he told reporters.

He claimed they will get to know in two to three days who is behind it and will make it public.

Agriculture Minister B C Patil pointed out that he has come up in politics without any godfather and some people were
not able to digest it.

“With apprehensions about an attempt to defame us as part of political conspiracy by some conspirators, we have approached the court as precautionary measure,” he said in a tweet.

Minister Byrathi Basavaraj said they have approached court as there is a conspiracy being hatched against them.



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