NEW DELHI: The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) today denied the plea of steel magnate Naveen Jindal to amend the relief sought since the matters raised by him against Zee Media Corporation. The reason being that the matter was already pending before the Delhi High Court and the Election Commission of India.
It also said it would not be able to entertain the complaint.
NBSA chairperson justice R V Raveendran said, “It will not be appropriate to permit the complainant to amend the relief sought, to get over the bar contained under second provision to Regulation 7.2.”
However, the NBSA said, “If Jindal wants to file a complaint under the regulations, independent of the subject matter of the suit, it is open to him to take action as is permissible in law/in accordance with the regulations.”
The second proviso to Regulation 7.2 of the NBSA Regulations reads, “Provided that nothing in these regulations shall be deemed to empower the authority to hold an enquiry into any matter in respect of which any proceeding is pending in a court of law or other tribunal or statutory authority.”
Jindal, then Member of Parliament, had filed a complaint on 18 March 2014 to the Election Commission of India against Zee News, Zee Business and Zee News (UP) channels with regard to the contents of certain news broadcasts on 7 March, 10 March and 16 March. It sought a direction to Zee News and its associated channels not to air what he termed “false, defamatory, misleading news items against him and his company.”
The Election Commission of India forwarded the complaint to NBA on 20 March so that NBSA could consider the complaint and take such action as it deems appropriate. NBSA considered the complaint at its meeting on 21 March and decided to issue a notice to the broadcaster calling upon them to file its response. Both parties were also called for a hearing today. While Jindal was represented by lawyers, Zee Media (legal) vice president Sanjay Jain was present along with his lawyers at the hearing.
In its response of 8 April, Zee Media Corporation alleged that Jindal had filed a suit before the Delhi High Court on the very same allegations, seeking permanent and mandatory injunctions as also damages; that Jindal also moved for an application for temporary injunction; and that the application had been rejected on 1 April.
The broadcaster also contended that in view of Regulation 7.2, Jindal cannot pursue any remedy before NBSA when a suit is pending on the same issue.
The matter was heard on 1 May and the NBSA found that both the complaint and the suit are based on the same facts and grievances and the reliefs sought are also the same.
Jindal’s counsel submitted that the complaint was to the Commission and not to NBSA and he may be permitted to pursue it before the Commission.