Bombay HC seeks Shapoorji Pallonji's reply over Tata Trust chief's plea

The Bombay High Court Friday sought the response of Shapoorji Pallonji Pvt Ltd in a petition filed by managing trustee of Tata Trusts R Venkatramanan seeking to quash a notice issued by a lower court in a defamation complaint lodged against him by the company.

On October 11, a magistrate court issued process (notice) against Venkatramanan following a complaint of defamation filed by Shapoorji Pallonji Pvt Ltd under section 500 of the IPC.

Justice Mridula Bhatkar Friday directed the company to file its affidavit and posted Venkatramanan's petition for hearing on December 17.

In its complaint filed in September, the company had claimed that Venkatramanan, on May 30, issued a false, frivolous, baseless and defamatory press statement against it.

The statement was issued after the CBI lodged an FIR against Venkatramanan and others in the AirAsia alleged corruption case.

Venkatramanan, who is also a director with AirAsia India Ltd, in the press statement had refuted the allegations levelled against him.

He had further claimed that the FIR contained charges which he believes stem from the malicious and defamatory allegations made by former Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry and Shapoorji Pallonji Pvt Ltd in their pleadings before the National Company Law Tribunal.
In his petition filed in the high court, Venkatramanan has claimed that a defamation complaint can only be filed by an aggrieved person and not by a company.

"Only a person who has directly or indirectly suffered his or her own reputation can move the court and file a complaint," it said.

The petition claimed the company has failed to show as to how it is a party aggrieved by the alleged defamatory press statement.

The petition has sought the high court's direction to quash and set aside the magistrate's order issuing process against Venkatramanan.

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