The Supreme Court today extended the stay on the summons issued by a lower court to DMDK leader and actor Vijayakanth on a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by the Tamil Nadya government for his alleged criticism of the Aavin milk scam.
A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant said there shall be stay of further proceedings against Vijayakanth, who has sought quashing of the criminal defamation case against him.
"This kind of cases mostly comes from Tamil Nadu. These statements are barbs against governance, nothing against any individual. Section 499 and 500 (defamation) of the IPC do not meant for this," the bench observed.
The court, meanwhile, granted two weeks time to Tamil Nadu for filling its response to the plea of the actor and fixed the matter for hearing in the first week of January next year.
Earlier, the state government had accorded sanction to try the Opposition leader in the case for making statement against B V Ramanaa, Minister for Milk and Diary Development Department.
A lower court had issued summons against the actor-turned -politician seeking his appearance before it on January 21 this year.
The scam involved alleged diversion of milk supply vans of Aavin, co-operative milk society of Tamil Nadu government, on their way from various districts to Chennai and diluting the milk in them with water.
Vijayakant also challenged the constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the IPC alleging that these provisions violated fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.
The same bench has already reserved its verdict on 27 pleas filed by persons including BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging constitutional validity of the penal laws on criminal defamation.