Chennai court dismisses plea seeking case against Rajinikanth over Periyar remark

Madras HC takes Cognizance on alleged Sexual harassment case on Woman IPS Officer

A Chennai court has dismissed the plea filed by Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (DVK) seeking direction to police to register a case against actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth over his remarks on Periyar.

Prior Facts:

Earlier this year, Madras High court had dismissed the petition filed against Actor Rajnikanth for his speech in which he said, “In 1971, at Salem, Periyar took out a rally in which undressed images of Lord Sri Ramachandramoorthy and Sita -with a garland of sandal-featured and no news outlet published it. Cho strongly condemned the event by Periyar immediately and Thuglak was the only magazine to do so. This brought a bad name to the ruling DMK who did not want the magazine to be circulated. The issue was seized by the government but Cho reprinted it and the magazine was sold in black. What was sold for Rs 10, was then sold for Rs 50 and Rs 60. Dr. Kalaingar had (inadvertently) promoted the magazine in that way and in the next issue, Cho had thanked him as its publicity manager… “

Key Features:

  • On the 50th anniversary event of a Tamil magazine, Rajinikanth had reportedly said on January 14 that at a rally in 1971 led by late Periyar, idols of Lord Ram and Sita were taken out without any clothes on them and the deities also featured a garland of sandals.
  • Rajinikanth refused to apologise for his remarks on Periyar saying that the comments were based on reports that have already appeared in the media.
  • The petitioner R Umapathy, who is DVK’s Chennai district secretary, alleged that Rajinikanth had made false and fraudulent statements insulting the Dravidian stalwart and followers of Periyar while speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations of Tamil magazine ‘Thuglak’ here recently.
  • He contended that “Rajinikanth made false and fraudulent statements insulting Dravidian ideologists and the followers of Thanthai Periyar with an intention to provoke breach of public peace by promoting enmity and hatred among the people of Tamil Nadu in the name of the religion”.
  • Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (DVK) had accused the actor of uttering a blatant lie and demanded his unconditional apology and also filed police complaints seeking action against him
  • DVK Secretary Umapathy in his petition submitted that he had lodged a complaint with police on January 18 but no FIR had been registered.
  • Rajnikanth told that, “A controversy has emerged that I said something that did not happen. But I did not say anything that did not occur. I only said what I heard and things that appeared in magazines. Sorry, I will not express regret or apologise”.
  • Amid a raging controversy over his remarks, Rajinikanth, however, stood by his comments maintaining they were factual and refused to apologise as demanded by fringe Dravidian outfits. The actor displayed clippings from magazines and newspapers in support of his claim.
  • The DVK had filed a complaint accusing that Rajnikanth defamed Periyar. The DVK sought action against Rajinikanth under IPC Sections 153 (a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) and 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief).

Judgement:

A court in Chennai on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed against actor Rajinikanth over his remarks on rationalist leader E V Ramasamy “Periyar.” Second Metropolitan Magistrate Roslyn Durai, however, granted liberty to the petitioner to file private complaint for defamation, damages and compensation. The Magistrate rejected the petition by the Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, a fringe outfit, seeking direction to the police to file a case against the actor.

The Magistrate said, “The speech of actor Rajinikanth is at best defamatory. The offence under section 499 r/w 500 of Indian Penal Code alone appears to be made out. The offence is non-cognisable and maintainable as a private complaint.”

On n hearing a recording of Rajinikanth’s speech during the golden jubilee celebrations of Thuglak magazine on January 14, 2020, the Magistrate said “He (Rajinikanth) has stated what he thought was a fact about a rally held in Salem in 1971 by Thanthai Periyar, and which according to him was also published in the Thuglak weekly magazine of that period.”

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.