The Jammu and Kashmir High Court today quashed a defamation complaint filed against former Republic TV anchors Aditya Raj Kaul and Sakal Bhatt and the Republic Media Group’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. The complaint had been filed by People’s Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar in 2018.
Akhtar filed the complaint based on a show that aired on the channel in June 2018. The show was about a letter written by BJP leader Khalid Jahangir who levelled allegations of corruption and favouritism against a close aide of the then chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Akhtar alleged that the anchors of the show, Kaul and Bhatt, had "deliberately and intentionally" used his name in connection with these allegations, despite the fact that Jahangir's letter did not specifically mention anyone's name.
While quashing the defamation complaint and a previous order in the case by a judicial magistrate, Justice Sanjay Dhar of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court said: “I do not find any imputation or any allegation having emanated from the presenters of the news programme.”
Dhar said that the channel emphasised that the source of their information was the letter written by Jahangir and also put a question mark after the headlines about the allegations. “By doing so, the channel has, while telecasting the programme, has taken due care that is expected of a responsible news channel,” said the judgement.