Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
The Pondicherry-datelined article had the word `Tamil Nadu' on the strap line, in keeping with its usual format `Tamil Nadu/Breakfast scheme suspended: 1,200 Pondy school students taken ill'.
When the matter came up before the principal sessions judge, A.R. Ramalingam, today, the third respondent, S. Nadarajan, who had authored the article, appeared in court. However, the other respondents the printer and publisher of The Hindu, S. Rangarajan, and the Editor, N. Ravi could not be present. The judge has since dispensed with the personal appearance of all the three respondents.
Though there was no reference to Tamil Nadu in the news item, the city public prosecutor alleged that the publication had been done deliberately and with an ``ulterior motive.'' Claiming that it was not the first time such a ``mischievous act'' had been committed against the Government and the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, by The Hindu, he saw a ``partisan attitude'' in the daily's stance, ``resulting in deliberate misrepresentation of facts and figures and misreporting of the statements of Ms. Jayalalithaa.''
According to the CPP, the caption in question was ``highly vituperative and per se defamatory and amounted to libel,'' and he claimed that it constituted offence under Section 499 of the IPC punishable under Section 500. He prayed that the `offence' be taken cognisance of by the court and action taken against the Editor, the publisher and the author of the article.
The principal sessions judge has adjourned the matter to February 17.
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