Bengaluru court orders criminal case against Minister Sudhakar for defamation

The case was filed by activist Anjaneya Reddy, who alleged that Health Minister K Sudhakar made defamatory statements against her in 2019.

A special court in Bengaluru has ordered registration of a criminal case against Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on charges of defamation. Anjaneya Reddy, an environmental and social activist, took the minister to court alleging that he made defamatory remarks against her in 2019. The petition also names Udayavani and Vijaya Karnataka, two popular Kannada newspapers, as respondents. The court, on November 15, ordered Sudhakar and the other accused to be booked under sections 500 (punishment for defamation) and 501 (printing defamatory matter).

The complaint said Sudhakar’s comments were “made in bad faith” and the newspapers published the news “without verifying the facts” with the intention of tarnishing the complainant’s reputation and causing permanent damage. Ordering the registration of a criminal complaint, the court said, “The statement of complaint and the affidavit of the complainant prima facie goes to show that the complainant has been defamed.”

According to the complaint, the petitioner was among those who protested against an irrigation project that would lead to discharge and treated sewage into lakes in Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts. The activist alleged that Sudhakar was a supporter of the project, and allegedly criticized Anjaneya Reddy in public. In 2019, Sudhakar took charge of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, which Anjaneya challenged in court. Against this background, while speaking at an event in Chikkaballapur in June 2019, Sudhakar alleged that Anjaneya was jailed earlier for his involvement in a robbery and called him “anti-farmer”. Sudhakar’s statements were published in newspapers Udayavani and Vijaya Karnataka, the complaint says, and as a result, “right thinking in the society known to the complainant has been wrongly thought of at least for a short time.”

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