HC dismisses appeal against Thackeray’s acquittal in a case
The Bombay High Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi against the acquittal
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi against the acquittal of late Balasaheb Thackeray in a defamation case filed against him in 1998.
The appeal was dismissed by Justice Mridula Bhatkar as Azmi did not appear yesterday when the matter was called out and had also remained absent on a number of occasions earlier.
The court observed that perhaps the appellant was not interested in pursuing the case because no purpose would be served as Thackeray had since passed away.
Azmi had filed a defamation case against former Shiv Sena chief Thackeray, editor of Sena’s mouthpiece “Saamana”, executive editor Sanjay Raut and publisher Subhash Desai in a Magistrate’s court here.
The newspaper had published an article on July 1, 1998, titled “Ha Azmi Kaun” (Who is this Azmi). The article had alleged that Azmi was an accused in the 1993 bomb blast case and had been granted bail by the Supreme Court on the strength of money power.
Azmi had argued that the article was defamatory and aimed at tarnishing his image in the eyes of people and lowering his reputation and status in society. He said the Supreme Court had discharged him from the 1993 bomb blast case as there was no material against him.
However, the Magistrate dismissed his complaint in May 2002 on the ground that Azmi was not present in the court and acquitted all the accused including Thackeray.
Azmi later claimed he had gone for a poll campaign outside Mumbai on behalf of the party and hence could not attend the court.
An aggrieved Azmi moved the Bombay High Court in 2003 seeking to restore the defamation complaint filed by him in the Magistrate’s court. This appeal was yesterday dismissed again on the same ground that Azmi was not present in the court.