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Mammen Mathew vs Dr. Thomas Issac on 29 May, 2008

Kerala High Court
Mammen Mathew vs Dr. Thomas Issac on 29 May, 2008
       

  

  

 
 
  IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

WP(C).No. 6990 of 2007(F)


1. MAMMEN MATHEW, THE EDITOR,
                      ...  Petitioner

                        Vs



1. DR. THOMAS ISSAC, S/O.T.P.MATHEW,
                       ...       Respondent

2. S. SUDHEESH, AGED 53 YEARS,

3. M.N. VIJANA, AGED AROUND 65 YEARS,

4. P.V CHANDRAN, MANAGING EDITOR,

                For Petitioner  :SRI.MILLU DANDAPANI

                For Respondent  :SRI.M.BALAGOVINDAN

The Hon'ble MR. Justice M.SASIDHARAN NAMBIAR

 Dated :29/05/2008

 O R D E R
                     M.SASIDHARAN NAMBIAR, J.

                       -------------------------------

                        W.P.(C) No.6990 of 2007

                       -------------------------------

                      Dated this the 29th May, 2008.

                             J U D G M E N T

Petitioner is the 3rd defendant in O.S.No.8/2004, on the

file of the Sub Court, Ernakulam. First respondent instituted the suit

for damages against four defendants, including the petitioner.

Petitioner is the editor of Malayala Manorama newspaper. After

framing issues on 8.6.2005, suit was originally included in the special

list. At that time, first respondent filed I.A.No.5023/2005 under Rule

17 of Order VI of Code of Civil Procedure to amend the plaint,

incorporating additional paragraphs in the plaint, to the effect that

defendants 2 to 4 being the editor/managing editor of the respective

magazine/newspaper, they are responsible for selection and

publication of the above explained articles in their respective

magazine/newspaper, and they have published the defamatory news

item with a shared intention to defame the reputation of the plaintiff in

the mind of the general public, and, therefore, they are officially and

personally responsible for the offending publication. Petition was

opposed by the respondent. Under Ext.P4 order, petition was allowed

W.P.(C) No.6990/2007

2

on terms holding that though petition was belated, it is necessary to

determine the real questions in controversy. This petition is filed

under Article 227 of the Constitution of India contending that in the

written statement filed by the petitioner on 1.9.2004, it was

specifically pleaded that petitioner is not personally responsible for the

selection and training of the news items of the daily, and daily has

appointed separate editors for each editions, and there are no specific

pleadings to the effect that disputed news items published in the news

paper and edited by the petitioner were defamatory or that petitioner

has any ill-will or malice towards first respondent. The argument of

the learned counsel is that without considering the defence taken in

the written statement, learned Sub Judge allowed the belated

application for amendment incorporating a plea that including the

petitioner, being editors had shared an intention to defame the

reputation of first respondent in the mind of the general public.

2. On hearing the learned counsel, I do not find any

illegality or irregularity in Ext.P3 order warranting interference in

exercise of the powers of this Court under Article 227 of the

Constitution of India. While allowing an application for amendment,

correctness of the amendment sought to be introduced need not be

W.P.(C) No.6990/2007

3

decided. The question is whether the amendment sought for is

necessary and would prejudice the petitioner. The argument of the

learned senior counsel is that if the amendment is allowed to stand,

petitioner will loose the right to plead that the claim is barred by

limitation. If that is the grievance, petitioner is entitled to take a

defence in the additional written statement taking up all the defence,

including the plea of limitation. Petition is dismissed.

M.SASIDHARAN NAMBIAR,
JUDGE

nj.

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