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Bombay HC sets aside R Venkataramanan’s defamation process

Shapoorji Pallonji Group filed a complaint against Tata Trusts managing trustee for a ‘defamatory’ press statement

ET Bureau|

Mar 28, 2019, 07.43 AM IST

Agencies

In his petition filed in the high court, Venkataramanan had claimed that a defamation complaint can only be filed by an aggrieved person and not by a company.

MUMBAI: In a reprieve to R Venkataramanan, managing trustee of Tata Trusts, the Bombay High Court has set aside the process issued against him by a metropolitan magistrate’s court in a defamation complaint filed by

Shapoorji Pallonji Group

.

The press note issued on May 30, 2018 by Venkataramanan was per-se not defamatory, Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed. “I am of the view that the words which are used in the press note are not at all defamatory,” Justice Bhatkar said in her order that was uploaded late on Wednesday. “They are moderate and temperate. They do not invite contempt, ridicule or hatred against the persons mentioned in the press note and much less the complainant,” she added.

In its complaint filed in September, Shapoorji Pallonji Group had alleged that Venkataramanan had on May 30 issued a false, frivolous, baseless and defamatory press statement against it.

On October 11, 2018, the metropolitan magistrate had issued process against Venkataramanan on the basis that “the allegation of the accused in the press statement might come within the meaning of defamation as per section 499 explanations 2 of Indian Penal Code”.

In his petition filed in the high court, Venkataramanan had claimed that a defamation complaint can only be filed by an aggrieved person and not by a company.

In her 34-page order, Justice Bhatkar observed that the words used and the statement made in the press note cannot be perceived as defamatory. “In the circumstances, the order dated October 11, 2018 passed by the additional chief metropolitan magistrate issuing process against the petitioner is quashed and set aside,” she said.

Law firm MZM Legal and senior counsels Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Majeed Memon and Mohan Parasaran represented Venkataramanan in the case. Shapoorji Pallonji & Co was represented by counsel Abad Ponda and law firm Desai & Diwanji.

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Prakash Poojary
Business Analyst

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