JKAS officer lodges defamation complaint against news portal, others

Court summons MD of Portal and ors


Jammu, Oct 3: In a significant order, Sub Judge (Special Mobile Magistrate) Kathua Surinder Kumar Thappa has taken cognizance of a criminal complaint filed under section 499/500 IPC (Defamation) by a JKAS Officer Tasbina Sheikh presently posted as Deputy Registrar (Cooperatives) J&K Government, Kathua against Jammu Samvad (Media/News Agency), its Managing Director Lalit Khajuria, Amit Ajrawat Reporter of Jammu Samvad, Talib Hussain proprietor M/S Khwaja Traders R/0 Bani (Kathua), Mohd Araf (JE) R/O Lawang Tehsil Bani (Kathua), and Akash Kumar R/0 Surjan, Bani (Kathua) and the court has summoned the aforementioned accused to appear in person before the court on October 25, 2023. The summons have been forwarded to SHO Police Station Bani and APP of the court for effecting service upon the accused for ensuring their presence on the next date of hearing.
In the complaint, the complainant Tasbina Sheikh who hails from Bani has alleged that it was on September 20, 2023 the MD of Jammu Samvad Lalit Khajuria and Amit Ajrawat at the behest of Mohd Araf (JE), Talib Hussain and Akash Kumar aired a defamatory story on their web portal Jammu Samvad entitled 'JKAS Officer Ban Gayi Farzi GST Officer, FIR Registered, Hosh Udaa Degi khabar' wherein without ascertaining the version of the complainant, the defamatory allegations were levelled against the complainant and time and again in the defamatory video the public was made to understand that the complainant impersonated herself as GST Officer before Talib Hussain who runs a hardware shop at Bani.
Advocate Kirti Bhushan Maha-jan appearing for the JKAS officer submitted that the news portal Jammu Samvad indulged in yellow journalism by suppressing and concealing the vital facts from the public at large and failed to air the version of the complainant which had been obtained telephonically on Aug 10, 2023 by Amit Ajrawat Reporter of Jammu Samvad. Advocate Kirti Bushan Mahajan further submitted that throughout the offending defamatory video, the MD as well as Reporter of Jammu Samvad did not refer FIR number 0037/2023 dated June 28, 2023 lodged against Mohammad Araf (JE), Talib Hussain and Akash Kumar, all residents of Bani who were nursing a grudge against the complainant and her family members and in the entire video both the media persons referred the allegations mentioned in the counter blast FIR No. 0047/ 2023 dated August 2,2023 and this was done with the oblique motive to malign the reputation of the complainant so that their family may not press FIR No.0037/2023 dated June 28,2023 lodged against the aforementioned 3 persons and on the basis of the said FIR Mohammad Araf (JE) was attached to the administrative department at Civil Secretariat Jammu.
Advocate Kirti Bhushan Mahajan further submitted that the offending video caused immense damage to the reputation of the complainant who by dint of her hard work qualified JKAS examination and is serving as Deputy Registrar (Cooperatives) Kathua and the offending video spread like a wildfire and so far 51,000 views on Facebook and 5600 views on YouTube and the complainant has received several calls from her batchmates, departmental colleagues, friends, inhabitants of Bani and moreover the district administration Kathua has also sought the comments of the complainant with regard to the offending video.
After hearing Advocate Kirti Bhushan Mahajan at length, the Court of Sub Judge, Special Mobile Magistrate Kathua took cognisance of the criminal complaint and after recording the preliminary statement of the complainant JKAS officer and her witnesses and further considering the annexures/ offending video, the court prima facie found that there is commission of offences under section 499/500 IPC (Defam-ation) and accordingly, issued summons against five accused namely Lalit Khajuria (MD Jammu Samvad), Amit Ajrawat Reporter Jammu Samvad, Mohd Araf (JE), Talib Hussain and Akash Kumar for their appearance before the Court on October 25, 2023.JNF

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