The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the trial court proceedings in a defamation case filed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) mouthpiece publication Murasoli against Union Minister of State and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L Murugan. [Dr L Murugan vs Murasoli Trust]
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra also sought the response of the Murasoli Trust in the matter.
Earlier this month, the Madras High Court had refused to quash the defamation case prompting Murugan to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
The Madras High Court had on September 5, also directed that the trial court to complete the trial within three months.
The case concerns remarks made by Murugan in a press meet where he alleged that Murasoli's operations were running on land meant for Dalits in Tamil Nadu.
Before the High Court, Murugan argued that since the alleged defamatory statement was not made against the trust, no case was made out.
The High Court noted that the Minister's statements may be comprehended as questioning the right and title of the property in question. It added that it could not go into the merits of the case at the current stage and declined to quash the trial court proceedings.
Before the Supreme Court, Murugan's counsel asserted that the statement did not amount to defamation and that the case was an abuse of the criminal justice process.
Further, the counsel questioned whether a trust's defamation complaint was even maintainable.
Murugan's plea before the apex court was filed through advocate Geet Ahuja.
Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave with advocates Ahuja, Nachiketa Joshi, and Pranav Praneet appeared for L Murugan.
Advocate Devyani Gupta appeared for the Murasoli Trust.