Economist Shah withdraws plea before SC in defamation case | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Economist Shah withdraws plea before SC in defamation case

delhi Updated: Jul 25, 2010 15:19 IST

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Well-known economist Ajay Shah, who is facing a defamation case filed by the Multi Commodity Exchange, has withdrawn his petition before the Supreme Court.

After a brief hearing, when a bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and T S Thakur was about to dismiss, counsels appearing for Shah requested the withdrawal of the petition.

This was allowed by the apex court, which treated Shah's petition as "dismissed as withdrawn".

However, the bench said the magistrate who would hear the defamation case against Shah would not be influenced by the observations made against him by the Bombay High Court.

"It is made clear that the trial court will decide the case, uninfluenced by any observations made by the High Court in the impugned order," the bench said.

Earlier, the High Court had dismissed Shah's petition to quash the summons issued to him by a Mumbai magistrate in a criminal defamation case filed by commodity bourse MCX over an article written by him on February 4, 2009.

In the article Shah referred to an action taken by the Forward Market Commission (FMC), which prevented MCX's rival commodity exchange NCDEX from reducing transaction fees and argued that the only beneficiary of the FMC action was MCX.

Objecting to the article, MCX slapped a defamation case on Shah in March, 2009, under section 500 of the IPC. Acting on the plea, the magistrate issued a summons to him on March 26, 2009. Following this Shah, who was also on the NCDEX board, moved the High Court to set aside the summons. But the HC rejected his plea on December 2, 2009.

The High Court had also rejected Shah's plea that he had written the article in public interest and observed, "There is no presumption that eminent people would write articles only for educating the public at large and in good faith... Experience has shown otherwise."

The court further observed that "the article was written at a time when MCX was contemplating a public issue. The timing of the article as such was to harm the complainant (MCX) at the time of the public issue."