No relief for Times Now in defamation case

MUMBAI: In what can be termed as a setback to the English news channel Times Now, the Supreme Court has refused to give any relief in the defamation case filed by retired SC judge PB Sawant.

Earlier, Bombay High Court had ordered Times Global Broadcasting, which runs Times Now, to deposit Rs 200 million in cash along with a bank guarantee of Rs 800 million, before its appeal against a Pune
trial court ruling that directed the channel to pay Rs 1 billion in damages for defaming Sawant could be heard.

The channel had erroneously ran Sawant’s photograph during the reportage of provident fund scam in September 2008. Apparently, justice Sawant had nothing to do with the scandal exposed by a
treasury officer, Ashthana.
Later, justice Sawant sued the channel saying it telecast his photograph for 15 seconds along with the provident fund scam report on 10 September 2008.

The Pune court ordered the channel to pay the hefty sum as damages, but the channel moved the High Court. However, the HC directed the channel to deposit the amount of damages so that its appeal could be heard.

Rejecting the company’s appeal against the HC order, a bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi said on Friday there was no error in the HC order. “We find no reason to interfere with the HC’s order,” it said.

In its defence, the TV channel asserted that it had already apologised to Justice Sawant in its news scroll for five days in 2008 and was, therefore, not liable to pay damages.

When contacted, Times Television Network MD and CEO Sunil Lulla declined to comment.

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