Delhi Court grants bail to Mahua Moitra in defamation case by Zee News

Delhi Court grants bail to Mahua Moitra in defamation case by Zee News

The Court of Chief Additional Metropolitan Magistrate at Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court Complex today granted bail to Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra in Zee Media Corporation Ltd’s criminal defamation case against her.

ACMM Vishal Pahuja extended bail to Moitra on a personal bond of Rs 20,000.

Mahua had appeared before the Court pursuant to the summons issued against her in a criminal defamation case by Zee News.

Zee News had moved the Court against Mahua Moitra after she allegedly called Zee News ‘chor’ (thief) and paid news.

Counsel for Moitra today also argued for the discharge of Moitra in the case. Counsel Shadan Farast and Adit S Pujari argued that in absence of a prima facie case, the Court had the power to discharge an accused in a summons case before framing of notice in terms of Section 251 CrPC.

Relying on a series of judgments, it was submitted that a Court could not act like a postoffice and thus could not frame notice in a summons case in a mechanical manner.

Therefore, it was contended that the Court ought to apply its mind to the facts of the case before framing of notice and discharge an accused if the commission of a punishable offence is not prima facie made out.

Counsel for Zee Media, advocate Vijay Aggarwal opposed the discharge of Moitra at this stage on the ground that no specific provisions of law provided for the same.

Aggarwal argued that unlike the high courts and the Supreme Court, the court of magistrates did not have the power to pass any order in the interest of justice and was instead strictly bound by the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Since the legislature had intentionally not provided for a specific provision for the discharge of an accused in a summons case, unlike in sessions triable cases and warrant cases, it was not open for him to seek discharge after issuance of summons and prior to framing of notice.

In the complaint filed through Advocates Vijay Aggarwal and Ayush Jindal, Zee News has stated that on July 3, Moitra made the following statement in front of various persons, including persons from media:

  • Aap ka jo paid news hai wo kya keh rahe haiI am not bothered about them.. (What your paid news is saying, I am not bothered about it)
  • Aap logon ka jo channel hai wo chor hai, uska owner chor hai, nai nai aap log nai kar sakte kar sakte, mene press release diya hai, aap log inte uneducated aur budwak hai, hum press release abhi de rahe hai.. (Your channel is a thief. its owner is a thief.. you all are so uneducated and stupid..)

The matter would be taken up next on January 10.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news