Delhi High Court slams NDTV for wasting its time in an old defamation case

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday slammed New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) for wasting the court’s time in a defamation case, Bar and Bench have reported. What makes the situation ironic is the fact that NDTV is wasting time in the defamation case, which it itself filed against now BJP leader MJ Akbar and the Sunday Guardian.

As per the report, the case filed in 2011 complains about the allegedly defamatory articles published in the Sunday Guardian, which accused the channel of tax evasion and bungling its finances. NDTV, as a result, demanded damages worth Rs 25 crore and a restraint on the publication of those pieces.

Even though NDTV is the one which might potentially gain via the case’s outcome, it itself is supposedly trying to delay the matter, by asking for adjournments and not filing the required documents. The defendants too are accused of doing the same.

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The Delhi High Court, as a result, observed in its judgement that the NDTV had been given 11 chances to file evidence, but asked for an adjournment each time. The ruling judge – Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, as a result, observed that on the 11 dates of hearing both the parties had shown “advocacy and ingenuity” to take adjournment instead of leading plaintiff’s evidence.

The judge also observed that the case for five years only involved attending the hearing and not doing anything in between.

While taking on the NDTV, the judge questioned whether a litigant got the right to “purchase the time of the court” by paying hefty legal fees, after NDTV’s lawyer submitted that his client had paid Rs 25 lakh in legal fees.

The judge later observed that NDTV only woke up from its “slumber” after it realised that its tarikh pe tarikh (intentionally extending the case’s duration) game was about to end.

For NDTV such a scolding comes in the light of it its promoters Prannoy and Radhika Roy receiving a show cause notice from the IT department under section 279(1) of the Income Tax Act, and the media group selling a stake in its subsidiary to its landlord, as a form of paying its outstanding rent.

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