The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed the defamation suit filed against party coordinator and Panirselvam and joint coordinator Palaniswami, saying there was nothing defamatory in the 2021 notice expelling former AIADMK employee V Pugalendi from the party. Palaniswamy’s senior counsel A Natarajan and Vijay Narayan’s arguments on behalf of Panirselvam were accepted, while Justice M Nirmal Kumar dismissed Pugalendi’s allegations to punish them for offenses under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC (Defamation). Allegations were pending in the special court for the trial of criminal cases involving elected members of Parliament and members of the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu.
Pugalendi alleges that through a notice dated June 14, 2021, the pair expelled him from basic membership of the party. It has been issued without any reasoned notice. No reason was given for the expulsion. Sentences not to associate with party workers have tarnished his image. His name and reputation were tarnished among one and a half crore party workers and supporters among friends, relatives and acquaintances. The two, in a computational and malicious manner, did it, he claimed.
Rejecting the plea, Justice Nirmal Kumar said the wording of the expulsion notice was a matter of routine which was repeated year after year. Even for Pugalendi, at a previous event when he was expelled in December, 2017, a similar notice was issued. His initial allegations appear to be that the two parties did not follow the rules of the party, did not issue a notice to show cause, failed to follow the principles of natural justice, and were expelled from the party without any reason. Valid reason. His remedy and answer to this allegation is not to file a false and defamation suit elsewhere, the judge said.
The other allegation is that the party cadres are instructed not to have any contact with the respondent which has greatly affected his reputation and brought him into disrepute. There is no such allegation in the expulsion letter. According to interpretation (4) of section 499 of the IPC, the guess of others should be directly or indirectly accused of degrading the moral or intellectual character of the person or diminishing the merit of that person. In this case, there is no element in the allegation or affidavit to show that others who questioned the respondent have been defamed as a result.
The appellants, as coordinators and joint coordinators, had the legal power to take disciplinary action against all members of the party. It is a normal practice to take disciplinary action through the media. The wording of the expulsion letter is identical and the same as that which was issued earlier and the same is followed in the case of Pugalandi. “So, looking at the case from any angle, this court finds that there is no element or reason to proceed against the petitioners (EPS and OPS) and that the proceedings are nothing but an abuse of law,” the judge said. Two criminal original petitions allowed.
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