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Daily fined for �defamatory� news

By Bureau

DIBRUGARH, Sep 9 � SK Dhar, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Tinsukia, has asked Jayanta Barua, proprietor of vernacular daily Asomiya Pratidin, Jatin Choudhury, printer and publisher, Haider Hussain, Editor of the daily, Adip Kumar Phukan, then Executive Editor and Tilok Hazarika, then Editorial Advisor (all with the daily at the time of publishing the complaint), to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 each for publishing news items against Shamsher Singh, ACS, who was the then Additional Deputy Commissioner of Tinsukia, in the edition of the daily published on 15-12-2001 under the caption of �Ekekhon jilatey atirikta sahakari ayuktar pora atirikta upayukta hol Tinisukiate khuti puti Samsher Singhor ejug�, and under the caption �Tinisukiat tero bosore khuponi putise Samsher Singhey� on 27-12-2002. In default of payment of this fine, the accused will have to undergo simple imprisonment for three months, the court ruled.

The case arose on a complaint filed by Shamsher Singh in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Tinsukia, alleging inter alia that the daily had been publishing defamatory news items against him under the headlines stated above, which had harmed his reputation and also that of his family.

The news items were published allegedly to malign him intentionally and lower his position in the eyes of general public and the government, the complainant had alleged.

The case was later on transferred to the Court of Additional CJM for disposal.

During course of trial, the trial court held that by publishing such news items, the complainant was defamed and the accused persons were liable to be convicted.

The Additional CJM rejected the plea of the accused persons that they were protected under exception to Section 499 IPC and the contents of the news items were true.

The Additional CJM held that the accused persons have failed to substantiate the claims made in the defamatory news items. Though the accused persons tried to cite �freedom of press�, the court held that the Supreme Court, in a judgement published in 1986, had already held that freedom of press is not absolute and unrestricted and cautioned accordingly to be fair in such publications.

It is pertinent to mention here that Shamsher Singh, who is presently the Managing Director of Assam Small Industries Development Corporation Limited, is also the Ex officio Joint Secretary to the Government of Assam Industries & Commerce Department, besides handling several additional responsibilities. In this case, the prosecution was conducted by Advocate RK Borthakur, while advocate PKBorah appeared for the defendants.

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Daily fined for �defamatory� news

DIBRUGARH, Sep 9 � SK Dhar, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Tinsukia, has asked Jayanta Barua, proprietor of vernacular daily Asomiya Pratidin, Jatin Choudhury, printer and publisher, Haider Hussain, Editor of the daily, Adip Kumar Phukan, then Executive Editor and Tilok Hazarika, then Editorial Advisor (all with the daily at the time of publishing the complaint), to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 each for publishing news items against Shamsher Singh, ACS, who was the then Additional Deputy Commissioner of Tinsukia, in the edition of the daily published on 15-12-2001 under the caption of �Ekekhon jilatey atirikta sahakari ayuktar pora atirikta upayukta hol Tinisukiate khuti puti Samsher Singhor ejug�, and under the caption �Tinisukiat tero bosore khuponi putise Samsher Singhey� on 27-12-2002. In default of payment of this fine, the accused will have to undergo simple imprisonment for three months, the court ruled.

The case arose on a complaint filed by Shamsher Singh in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Tinsukia, alleging inter alia that the daily had been publishing defamatory news items against him under the headlines stated above, which had harmed his reputation and also that of his family.

The news items were published allegedly to malign him intentionally and lower his position in the eyes of general public and the government, the complainant had alleged.

The case was later on transferred to the Court of Additional CJM for disposal.

During course of trial, the trial court held that by publishing such news items, the complainant was defamed and the accused persons were liable to be convicted.

The Additional CJM rejected the plea of the accused persons that they were protected under exception to Section 499 IPC and the contents of the news items were true.

The Additional CJM held that the accused persons have failed to substantiate the claims made in the defamatory news items. Though the accused persons tried to cite �freedom of press�, the court held that the Supreme Court, in a judgement published in 1986, had already held that freedom of press is not absolute and unrestricted and cautioned accordingly to be fair in such publications.

It is pertinent to mention here that Shamsher Singh, who is presently the Managing Director of Assam Small Industries Development Corporation Limited, is also the Ex officio Joint Secretary to the Government of Assam Industries & Commerce Department, besides handling several additional responsibilities. In this case, the prosecution was conducted by Advocate RK Borthakur, while advocate PKBorah appeared for the defendants.