Defamation case: Supreme Court notice to Tata Trusts' ex-managing trustee

New Delhi: This is "nothing but a corporate war", said the Supreme Court on Thursday issuing a notice, seeking the response of R. Venkataramanan, former Managing Trustee of Tata Trusts, in connection with a defamation case filed against him by Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

The apex court bench was hearing Shapoorji Pallonji Group's petition challenging a March order by the Bombay High Court that quashed Venkataramanan's prosecution.

A Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate court had in October 2018 ordered for Venkataramanan's prosecution based on a complaint filed by the Pallonji Group.

In September last year, the Pallonji Group had filed the complaint alleging that a press note issued by Venkataramanan on May 30, 2018 was defamatory as it contained "false", "frivolous" and "baseless information" against the company.

In his prosecution order, the Metropolitan Magistrate stated that the allegation against Venkataramanan and his press note came within the ambit of defamation as per Section 499 explanations 2 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, the High Court opined to the contrary, and stated that the usage of words in the press release could not be considered defamatory.

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