ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd. (the company running Republic TV and R Bharat channels) has filed a criminal defamation case in a Delhi Court, against Times Now anchor Navika Kumar for allegedly making defamatory remarks against Republic TV and its Chief Arnab Goswami, in connection with the TRP Scam case.
The petition filed through Advocate Ayush Jindal alleged that “Republic Media Network has been the target of a vicious, vindictive and malice driven exercise under the Maharashtra Government and that Kumar, as a part of a planned scheme and to take advantage of the ongoing deep-seated malice intends to further her own corporate interests. It is stated that the entire matter relating to alleged TRP manipulations is being investigated and pending consideration before the Bombay High Court.”
Further, Republic TV has taken exception to the statements made by Kumar on 18 January 2021 on her show, ‘Newshour’ relating to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chats, which the channel claimed were distorted and misconstrued.
Kumar spewed reckless and grossly defamatory material and telecast the same on TV and published them on the internet, alleged the plea.
The Petitioner has urged that Kumar cannot be permitted to steal a march over the adjudication process and pronounce the channel guilt by elevating itself a parallel adjudication forum.
“Two charge sheets have already filed but the investigation is still ongoing. The trial has not yet begun, and Complainant Company is factually innocent and also presumed innocent until proven guilty. The matter will be decided in accordance with the law and no third-party interloper can be permitted to pre-empt the process of law,” read the plea.
Further, in the petition, ARG Outlier alleged that Kumar is jealous of the manner in which Arnab Goswami launched Times Now and made it a thriving news channel within a year, and thereafter launched Republic TV, which has also gathered attraction.
It is alleged that Navika Kumar made “rabid and unrounded claims” accusing Arnab Goswami of endangering national security and leaking state secrets; such allegations “an utter falsehood” and “outright falsehood”.
“The Accused, currently still part of the company Times Now. The said fact is in itself enough to show the motive of the Accused Persons to unnecessarily defame the Editor in chief of the Complainant company and in turn to impact the reputation of the Complainant company. It is in fact for the reason that the Complainant company in itself has now gathered attraction that the Accused is jealous and the lack of ability of the Accused to match the success of the Complainant company, has caused this defamatory show to be aired,” it has been submitted.
Although Article 19 (a) of the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression clause 2 puts an embargo on derogatory speech, it is argued.