Taking up former Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira's petition seeking quashing of the defamation complaint filed by Fastway Transmission, a cable TV company, against him in March 2011, the Punjab and Haryana high court has issued a notice of motion to Fastway Transmission for November 26.
The petition, also seeking quashing of the Ludhiana district court's summoning orders of October 2011 in the defamation case, came up for hearing on Tuesday before justice RP Nagrath. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing before the judicial magistrate (first class), Ludhiana, on October 24.
The former Bholath MLA submitted that on February 19, 2011, an article was published in an English newspaper wherein an ESPN channel spokesperson had stated that Fastway Transmission was not allowing the broadcast of cricket World Cup matches on ESPN Star network and certain references were made about the backing of top political leadership of the present state government.
It was informed that the petitioner, who was then a sitting MLA, issued a statement based on the newspaper report stating that Fastway Transmission was not allowing viewers to watch the World Cup that was published in a Hindi newspaper on February 21. It was on the basis of this news report that a criminal complaint for defamation was instituted by Fastway Transmission against the petitioner before the Ludhiana court on March 22, 2011.
Khaira informed the court that an offence of defamation was not made out against him in any manner as he was not responsible for publication of the news item. He submitted that for the news item, the newspaper publisher, editor or correspondent were responsible but were not proceeded against for defamation.
It was submitted that he had made the statement in good faith to highlight the plight of people who were being deprived of World Cup matches.