In relation to criminal proceedings initiated against a member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Madras High Court observed that ‘The Public Prosecutor cannot institute a private complaint taking cudgels on behalf of the person defamed.’ The reason for initiation of the criminal proceedings against the member of the DMK were on the grounds that certain defamatory statements were made against former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the late J Jayalalithaa. The Public Prosecutor then filed private complaints before the Sessions Court, Tirunelveli. The Petitioner/Accused approached the Madras High Court stating that the statements made by him were not with regards to the public functions discharged by the then chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the criminal proceedings initiated against him were not maintainable.

The Hon’ble Justice GR Swaminathan, whilst adjudicating upon the petition, referred to the recent judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in KK Mishra v the State of Madhya Pradesh and made the observation that although the statements made were defamatory in nature but the statements were not directed to the public functions discharged by the then Chief Minister and further stated as follows:

“It is, of course, saddening to note the low and vulgar of level practical discourse. The party to which the petitioner belongs is directly opposed to the party headed by the person defamed in this case. Therefore, while attacking political opponent, who happened to be the Chief Minister of the State during the relevant time, reckless and vulgar statements have been employed. But, they do not have a direct bearing on the public function discharged by her.”

Concluding upon its findings, the Hon’ble Court stated further

“Therefore, this Court is of the view that in a case of this nature, the office of the Public Prosecutor cannot be used. In such cases, the person concerned must avail the remedy set out in law to a person personally aggrieved. The Public Prosecutor cannot institute a private complaint taking cudgels on behalf of the person defamed.”

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Order: VPR Ilamparuthi Versus Public Prosecutor Tirunelveli