May 23, 2018

Magazine ceased from publishing private life of Kanimozhi: Madras HC


The Madras High Court has restrained Kumudam Reporter, a Tamil bi-weekly magazine, from publishing anything regarding the private life of Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, a Rajya Sabha MP and daughter of former Chief Minister and DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, viz., her family, her marriage, procreation, motherhood, child-bearing and education, without her consent.

The Judge, Justice R Subramanian, however, made it clear that the restrictions are only with reference to any publication, which involves some matter, which is exclusively private. It is not extended to her functions as an MP or as a leader of the political party, the judge added.

Legal experts say restraining a media house permanently in this fashion is a first of its kind order in India.

“In the light of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the Justice K S Puttaswamy case, relating to right to privacy, I am constrained to conclude that though there cannot be a blanket injunction against the magazine, there cannot be an order in favour of the Tamil weekly enabling them to publish anything and everything in the guise of public interest,” Justice Subramanian said.

“I am, therefore, of the opinion that the order of injunction granted on January 5, 2014 and modified by the order dated April 25, 2016 is to be made absolute, subject to the conditions that the magazine shall not publish anything regarding the private life of the applicant like including about her family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, child-bearing and education, without her consent,” he added.

“Whenever, the magazine proposes to publish any article relating to private life of the applicant, claiming that it is in public interest, the magazine shall forward their queries/gist or the full article to the applicant to her email and wait for her response.”

“If any response is received within the 48 hours, the response shall also be published with the same prominence of the article. If no response is received within 48 hours, the magazine will be at liberty to go ahead and publish the article,” the Judge said.

The court passed the order on the civil suit moved by Senior Counsel P Wilson on behalf of Kanimozhi in 2014.

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