The Madras High Court today stayed the defamation proceedings against eight Tamil film actors pending in a court in Udhagamandalam, till the disposal of their petition seeking quashing of the case. Passing interim orders on a petition by the actors, Justice M V Muralidharan also dispensed with their personal appearance before the judicial magistrate court in Udhagamandalam. The actors are Sathyaraj, Surya, Cheran, Vijayakumar, Sarathkumar, Vivek, Sripriya and Arun Vijayakunmar. The complaint against them was filed in the magistrate court by Udhagamandalam-based journalist Rozario Mariya Susai for their alleged defamatory statements against journalists made in October, 2009. The actors had made the alleged comments while speaking on the coverage by a Tamil newspaper on the arrest of an actress on the charge of sleaze and other reports following her arrest. On May 25 this year, Justice S Vimala had stayed the non-bailable warrants issued against the actors for failure to appear before the Udhagamandalam court. Justice Muralidharan has extended the stay granted by the court on December 14, 2011 on the petition. The actors' petition was dismissed on March 14 last for default as no one appeared on behalf of either the actors or the prosecution when it came up for hearing. It has now been revived after the actors filed a common affidavit praying for the restoration of the petition seeking quashing of the case. When the matter came up for hearing today, counsel for the petitioners said that with the dismissal of the petition on March 14, the stay granted by the court earlier too had lapsed, resulting in the magistrate resuming the proceedings and issuing NBWs. Hence, he prayed for stay of further proceedings in the magistrate court and for dispensing with the appearance of the petitioners till the judgement on their quash plea was delivered. Stating that no prejudice will be caused to the respondent by the grant of the stay, the judge ordered that the stay already granted on December 14, 2011 was extended. He then posted the matter to July 5.
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