The Supreme Court today quashed a criminal defamation case filed against India Today founder and editor-in-chief Aroon Purie over a report that appeared in the magazine in 2007.
However, according to Bar and Bench, the bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi did not quash the case against Saurabh Shukla, the journalist who wrote the report. “We have accepted the appeal preferred by Poorie,” the court said, “and dismissed the appeal by the journalist.”
The report in question, headlined “Mission Misconduct”, was published in India Today in April 2007. It alleged that three Indian officials posted in the UK were “recalled in quick succession following serious allegations of sexual misconduct, corruption in issuance of visas and sale of Indian passports to illegal immigrants”.
India Today named one of these officials as OP Bhola, then India’s deputy consul general in Edinburgh. Bhola is a complainant in the case.
Purie had approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court last year refused to quash the case. His lawyer KV Vishwanathan told the apex court that Purie, being editor in chief at the time of the article being published, “could not be held liable” as per KM Mathew v. State of Kerala. CJI Lalit agreed that, as editor, Purie could be granted relief.
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