A court in Bengaluru on Saturday issued temporary injunction against 68 media houses restraining them from airing or publishing any unverified news item or defamatory content against six ministers of BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government in Karnataka.
The Bengaluru court passed the order on a joint petition by the six ministers -- Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar, Agriculture Minister BC Patil, Cooperative Minister ST Somashekar, and Health Family Welfare and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar. The petition was filed on Friday.
On Saturday, Addtional City Civil and Sessions Judge D S Vijaya Kumar, in his order, said that the media houses are restrained from telecasting or publishing any unverified news items against the ministers till next order.
Court restrains 68 media houses
"They are restrained from broadcasting, telecasting or publishing or letting in circulation or posting or accommodating or transmitting or circulating any defamatory news items or showing footages and pictures referring to the plaintiffs in relation to alleged CDs," the court ordered.
The court also restraind the media houses from "committing any act or intentional omission which thereby causes character assassination of the plaintiffs on the basis of the unverified material".
The six ministers are among the 17 Congress-JDS MLA who rebelled against their government, leading to its fall in July 2019 and paving way for the formation of the BJP government in the state.
Disqualified from their parties, they had joined the BJP and contest and won the by-elections and were made ministers in the Yediyurappa government.
Ministers allege smear campaign
The ministers said that there was a conspiracy being hatched against them to target them through smear campaigns and make them resign. Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said few ministers have sought protection from the court in anticipation of attempts to defame them to create political unrest in the state.
"After Ramesh Jarkiholi issue, lot of speculations, suspicion and conspiracies, talks of honey trap and other things are going on and it has been discussed in the media too.So there are apprehensions about attempts to defame certain other ministers and legislators," PTI quoted the minister as saying.
The development comes days after their colleague Ramesh Jarkiholi resigned from the state Cabinet after the content of a CD was published by some news channels, purportedly showing the minister allegedly asking sexual favours from an unidentified woman.
Jarkiholi had joined BJP along with 16 MLAs and was made the minister of water resources.