Delhi HC raps NDTV for wasting its time, dismisses Rs25 crore defamation case against MJ Akbar
In a strongly worded order, the Delhi High Court had lambasted New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) for wasting the Court’s time for almost seven years. The Court, while dismissing the Rs25 crore defamation suit filed by NDTV against MJ Akbar, also came down heavily on counsels of both parties for repeated adjournments. 
 
In an recent order, Justice Rajiv Sahai says, "The plaintiff (NDTV) in the present case appears to have woken up from its slumber insofar as the present suit is concerned, only on realising that the game of 'tarikh pe tarikh', which it had been playing, was about to come to an end. Need was then felt to file the Chamber Appeal along with application for condonation of delay so that the game can continue."
 
"I have also enquired from the counsel for the plaintiff with respect to the first and the third arguments urged by him, whether a litigant, by paying court fees of lacs of rupees, gets a right to purchase the time of the Court. Obviously, no answer in the affirmative could be given. Thus, the argument urged of 'no prejudice will be caused to anyone' is of no avail. Prejudice is indeed suffered by the Court, which incurs cost of thousands of rupees for each listing of a case. Prejudice is also suffered by the Court by such cases adding to the inventory of the Court and being shown as arrears of pendency in the Court and bringing a bad name to the Court. Prejudice is also suffered by other litigants pursuing or defending their bona fide disputes in the Court and who, owing to such non-serious litigants as the parties herein are, are unable to get expeditious listings as they deserve. Such conduct of litigants is thus affecting the administration of justice. The argument of 'none suffering prejudice' is again self-centred and forgetting that the Courts are public institutions and not fiefdom of the rich who can afford to inflate their claims," the Court said.
 
Mr Akbar had authored and published an article titled, NDTV-ICICI Loan Chicanery Saved Roys" on 5 December 2010 the website of the Sunday Guardian. This followed by some more articles, after which NDTV filed a defamation suit against Mr Akbar and others demanding damages of Rs25 crore. 
 
While the hearing was going on from one date to another, the Court observed that counsels of both parties were merely attending the dates of hearing and sought next date for hearing. The Court observed, "Surprisingly, the counsel for the defendants also played along and neither made a statement that there was no need for the defendants to lead evidence and the suit be listed before the Court for dismissal, nor took any steps in this regard after 29 January, 2016."
 
This was repeated even when the counsels were talking about a possible settlement out of the Court. 
 
Justice Sahai stated, "...I may add that just like the Court, even under Order XXIII Rule 3 of the CPC is not bound to put its seal of approval to a compromise arrived at between the parties and is entitled to refuse the same if finds the same to be unlawful, so is the Court not bound to keep on allowing adjournments or not to close the right of any party to lead evidence, merely on the ground that the other party has been agreeing thereto. I reiterate that procedure and time of the Court is not for sale and is not to be regulated by the litigants but is to be regulated by the Court."
 
"The plaintiff (NDTV), owing to the defendants also cooperating with the plaintiff, has already availed undue eleven opportunities spanning over three years four months and 26 days for leading its evidence, when ordinarily not more than two or three opportunities are given. Though, such cooperation of defendants earned the plaintiff extra time and opportunities but cannot earn the plaintiff endless time as the plaintiff expects. The Court, before closing the right of plaintiff, had repeatedly cautioned the plaintiff, by imposing costs or by making the opportunity a 'last and final one' and was not required to do any further."
 
The High Court then dismissed the defamation suit and Chamber Appeal. "As aforesaid, the onus of all the issues was on the plaintiff and which the plaintiff has failed to discharge; resultantly, the suit of the plaintiff has to be dismissed and is dismissed. Owing to the conduct of the defendants already noticed above, the defendants are not entitled to any costs," the Court said in its order.
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    COMMENTS

    Murali Ratnam

    1 year ago

    too many cases are pending in various courts & it takes years to get verdict
    Congratulate the judge who had spoken his mind& cautioned the counsels

    Jet Airways stock crash on net loss, auditors' doubts
    A day after the airline major Jet Airways' auditors red-flagged its future plans on cost reduction and fund mobilisation to avert "uncertainties" created by a net loss and negative net worth, the company's stocks crashed by over 7 per cent on Thursday.
     
    The massive plunge in Jet's scrip comes after the auditors expressed their doubt over the appropriateness of preparing the company's financial results "on a going concern basis".
     
    For the uninitiated a "going concern basis" is an accounting term which basically refers to a firm's ability to generate enough financial resources to stay in business or avoid bankruptcy. However, even the investors were not convinced and dumped the stock.
     
    On Thursday, Jet's stocks on the BSE plunged by 7.03 per cent or Rs 29.60 to Rs 391.55 per share from its previous close of Rs 421.15 per share.
     
    The development assumes significance as it comes after the company reported a standalaone net loss of Rs 1,036 crore for the fourth quarter of 2017-18 from a net profit of Rs 602.42 crore reported for the corresponding period of 2016-17.
     
    In terms of financial year, Jet Airways reported a standalone net loss of Rs 767.62 crore from a net profit of Rs 1,482.52 crore reported for the previous fiscal. 
     
    On a consolidated basis, the aviation major reported a net loss of Rs 636.45 crore in 2017-18 from a net profit of Rs 1,498.68 crore in 2016-17.
     
    Jet blamed its weak financial performance on the rise in Brent fuel without a corresponding increase in air fares, as well as mark-to-market adjustments due to a depreciating rupee. 
     
    "The company has incurred a loss during the year and has negative net worth as at 31st March, 2018 that may create uncertainties. However, various initiatives undertaken by the company in relation to saving cost, optimise revenue management opportunities and enhance ancillary revenues is expected to result in improved operating performance," the company had said in the notes of its earnings results.
     
    "Accordingly, the statement of financial results continues to be prepared on a going concern basis, which contemplates realisation of assets and settlement of liabilities in the normal course of business including financial support to its subsidiaries." 
     
    Reacting to the specific note on the appropriateness of assumption of going concern, Jet' auditors said: "Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter." 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
     
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    NSE NOW trading terminal halted due to technical issues
    NSE NOW, the stock trading terminal offered by National Stock Exchange (NSE) to traders, was facing technical problems on Thursday, say reports. Complaints of multiple orders being executed have been reported. The software was shut for brokers and sub-brokers for some time. 
     
    The licensed trading software offers direct connectivity to the NSE for trade execution and data feeds through trading terminals, web-based browsers and mobile devices.
     
    A spokesperson from NSE told Moneycontrol, "NSE NOW is a shared CTCL system, which had a disruption which has been rectified and the system is now up and running. The members had alternate mode of connectivity during the disruption and hence trading was not disrupted. The reasons for disruption are being assessed.”
     
    The Stock Exchange was hit by a technical glitch last year as well, when trading was halted for three hours.
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