Defamation case against Tehelka for defaming Sangh

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Tis Hazari Courts Shri Sunil Sharma admitted the case on February 21 and he will record the pre-summoning evidences in the case on March 5. 

A swayamsevak of Delhi, Shri Jagdish Kakkar, through his counsel Monika Arora, filed a defamation case in Delhi against Tehelka magazine under Section 200 of CRPC for defaming the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Tis Hazari Courts Shri Sunil Sharma admitted the case on February 21 and he will record the pre-summoning evidences in the case on March 5.

The case was filed against Editor-in-Chief and publisher of Tehelka Shri Tarun J Tejpal, chief operating officer Smt Meena Tejpal, feature editor Smt Shoma Choudhary, founder member Smt Brij Kishore Sharma, founder member Shri Parawal Srivastava, vice president marketing Smt Aparna Jain, editor of news and investigation Shri Harinder Baweja, M/S Anant Media Pvt. Ltd, and author of the article Shri Ashish Khetan.

In his plea the complainant Shri Kakkar said the impugned article hurt his feelings as he has been actively participating in various activities and programmes of RSS and its affiliated organisations and he is deeply inspired by its social, cultural, welfare, sewa activities.

According to the plea, Tehelka in its issue dated January 15, 2011 carried a cover story titled 'In the Words of a Zealot' based on the alleged confessional statement of Swami Assemanand who is presently in judicial custody for his alleged involvement in some bomb blasts. The article made highly derogatory remarks against the Sangh and its activists. "The complainant was alarmed and shocked to read the impugned article in which such false, malicious propaganda has been done by the accused to defame RSS," the plea said. 

"The chosen extracts from the alleged statement of Swami Aseemanand were published in the magazine. Page 35 of the magazine carries the photo in the background of the handwritten confessional statement of the Learned Magistrate. The signatures of the Learned Magistrate are also visible with date, which prima facie prove that the Tehelka magazine has somehow obtained illegally a copy of the said statement. How did they manage to receive a copy of the Court proceedings/Court Record needs to be enquired into. The secrecy and sanctity of the judicial proceedings has been breached and the confidentiality and secrecy of the said proceedings blasted, which immediately needs a high level judicial enquiry to find out the real culprit who has insulted the Hon'ble Court." Shri Kakkar said in his plea.

"The article is not only defamatory in its natural meaning but also contains the imputation and insinuation that the Organisation (RSS) is involved in anti-national and terrorist activities. In the article, the accused persons have already passed the judgement that RSS Pracharaks are responsible for doing bomb blasts in the country and especially in the case of 2006 Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts. The trial has not even started in the cases, the evidence is yet to be recorded and the witnesses yet to be examined and cross examined. The accused persons have held the nationalist organisation RSS guilty of exploding terror bombs in the country without even waiting for the prosecution to establish its case, defence to lead evidence in its favour, the Hon'ble Court to pass judgement and thereafter if RSS is held guilty, then without even giving an opportunity for the organisation to a fair hearing in accordance with law," the complainant said.

The complainant further said that the said article not only tarnished the image and harmed the reputation of RSS in the eyes of general public but also has personally defamed his own reputation in the eyes of the public at large. After this article not only some Congress leaders quoted it to defame the RSS, but also Pakistan which has been inspiring cross border terrorism and bleeding India of its men and resources by orchestrating the evil design of bomb blasts in various parts of the country over more than five decades, also summoned the Senior Officials of the Indian Embassy in Pakistan and called for the entire investigation report and other related documents of the Samjhauta Express blast. Emboldened by such biased and baseless reporting, various leaders in Pakistani gave statements that it was RSS and other Hindu groups who were responsible for doing bomb blasts in India and that Pakistan nationals were not involved in it as has always being claimed by India.

"The entire article projected the organization (RSS) as if it is a group of extremists and terrorists whereas, as earlier mentioned, the organization since its foundation in 1925 has been working for the welfare of the society by helping the victims of the natural calamities such as flood, earthquake, draught etc. by providing them food, clothes etc. The accused persons by the impugned cover story have deliberately and maliciously, intended to outrage religious feelings of Hindus by insulting their religion and wounding their religious beliefs," the plea said. 

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