The Supreme Court suspended defamation proceedings in five cases initiated by the Tamil Nadu government against BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for making critical observations against former chief minister J. Jayalalitha, on Thursday.
An apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and UU Lalit, while suspending defamation proceedings before a Chennai court, also issued notice to the central government, the Tamil Nadu government and Jayalalithaa on Swamy’s plea for scrapping the provisions for criminal defamation in penal laws. The notices are returnable in six weeks.
The court reportedly stayed the proceedings in all five defamation cases filed against Swamy in Sessions court of Chennai.
Swamy, who appeared in person, told the court that Section 499 and Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code relating to defamation imposed unreasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution.
Five defamation cases were filed against Swamy by the state government after the BJP leader had allegedly made some defamatory allegations against Jayalalithaa on social networking site.
(With inputs from IANS)