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OPEN APP MORE FROM TOI Top News Mask India Covid-19 Updates CITY Madras high court quashes 28 defamation cases initiated by Tamil Nadu govt against media houses Sureshkumar | TNN | May 21, 2020, 17:10 IST TNN Madras high court Get Notifications on latest Chennai News CHENNAI: When it comes to defamation, the state is like a parent, and it is normal for some parents to face vituperative insults from their children (citizens) but the parent cannot disown their children for such acts, the Madras high court has said while quashing 28 criminal defamation cases filed against various news organisations by the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu. “Despite those insults, parents don’t disown their children quite easily. They always have the hope that their children will mend themselves in the near future. Only in rarest of rare cases when the character and behaviour of their children is irretrievably broken down and irreconcilable, the parents disown them,” Justice Abdul Quddhose said. READ MORE FROM TOI+ As workers prepare to trickle back into offices, here are strategies to keep the virus at bay, as well as guidelines if an employee tests positive Search for jobs brought them to cities, now livelihood a huge concern as they head back Allowing all the petitions filed by media houses including the TOIchallenging the defamation cases initiated during 2012-13, when late chief minister J Jayalalithaa was in the realm, the judge said, “The attitude of the state with regard to defamation must also be the same as their tolerance level towards its citizens in so far as defamation is concerned must be akin to that of parents. When the state is having other avenues under law to make the offender realise the mistake, if any, the criminal defamation law under Section 499 and 500 IPC should be sparingly used by the state.” An individual or a public servant/constitutional functionary can be impulsive but not the state, which will have to show utmost restraint and maturity in filing criminal defamation cases. If the state becomes an impulsive prosecutor in criminal defamation matters that too in an era of social media where there are scores of abusive contents made against public figures, the sessions court would get clogged with innumerable matters which are sometimes vindictive in nature only to settle scores with opposition political parties, the court added. Asserting that the intention of the legislature would never have been for this unlawful object, Justice Abdul Quddhose also cautioned that of late for quite number of years, there seems to be some decay happening in every sphere of democracy including the media. If the rottenness was not removed sooner than later, it would spread like fire causing great peril to our robust democracy, he said.