‘No one has right to disparage the reputation of another’; Madras High Court restrains YouTuber Savukku Sankar from making defamatory remarks against TN Minister V Senthil Balaji

Madras High Court

   

Madras High Court: Krishnan Ramasamy, J. has granted interim injunction against YouTuber Savukku Sankar, restraining him from making defamatory remarks against Electricity Minister Senthil Balaji, and has observed that, Sankar prima facie, appears to have indulged in slander having posted various videos and tweets in social media platforms namely, YouTube, Twitter, etc. with false and disreputable claims against the applicant/plaintiff, who is a political executive, and this would, prima facie stain the personal and professional reputation of the applicant in society.

The suit was filed for damages and for mandatory injunction, restraining Sankar from, in any way, making, printing, publishing, broadcasting, disseminating or circulating the statements, articles, pictures, cartoons, caricatures, sketches, tweets and videos or any other defamatory statements, which causes damage or tends to lower the reputation of the applicant on social media.

Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji submitted that Sankar is a suspended employee of the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption and claims himself as a self-styled journalist, habitually defaming all the occupants of constitutional and executive offices and used to post videos and interviews in social media platforms, like YouTube and Twitter, etc.

Balaji further submitted that Sankar had the sole intention to defame the applicant, as he continuously made wild, false and defamatory statements against the applicant to tarnish his personal and professional reputation. For instance, Sankar posted some videos on YouTube, wherein, he made erroneous allegation against Balaji that

  • he is running all the TASMAC Bars in Tamil Nadu; that

  • he provided solar power plants on payment of 20 lakhs per megawatt;

  • he, while serving as the Minister for Transport, was involved in the job scam of 200-300 crores, and that he has given 200 crores to the DMK party for election expenses.

Further, Sankar published an alleged tweet on Twitter, that a person named Baskar died mysteriously and suicide note contains Balaji's name.

The Court observed that

“In a democratic set up, no one has right to disparage the reputation of another. In this case, the respondent, prima facie, appears to have indulged in slander having posted various videos and tweets in social media”

The Court further viewed that the applicant has made out prima facie case and balance of convenience is in favor of the applicant and if interim injunction is not granted, the applicant would be put to irreparable hardship. Hence, the court granted the interim injunction in favor of the applicant, restraining the respondent from making any defamatory remarks.

The matter will next be taken up on 09.09.2022.

[V Senthil Balaji v. A Shankar, OA. No. 509 of 2022, decided on 23-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For V Senthil Balaji: Senior Advocate AR. L. Sundaresan

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