SHC dismisses Axact lawsuit against harassment, media trial | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SHC dismisses Axact lawsuit against harassment, media trial

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit of IT company Axact seeking court injunction against harassment to its staff on the basis of a NYT story about fake online diplomas, allegedly being run by the Axact, and media trial.

Axact submitted that the NYT published a defamatory article in its publication about its involvement in operating fake online diploma courses and degrees and the Federal Investigation Agency started harassing its employee on the pretext of inquiry.

The plaintiff counsel submitted that the FIA personnel were harassing company directors and employees in the garb of an inquiry and prayed the court to restrain them from harassing directors, employees and interfering in normal functioning of business.

The counsel also sought injunction from the court against the media trial of the company and prayed the court to direct the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to stop the hate campaign against the company.

The court observed that an inquiry or investigation was an absolute prerogative of the agency concerned and this inquiry/investigation in no way made a person ‘guilty.’ The court observed that the objective of such inquiry investigation was always meant to remove clouds of doubts by declaring the person ‘innocent’ or to send him to prove his innocence by a competent court of law.

As regard the relief of perpetual injunction against the Pemra, the court observed that provision of Section 26 of Pemra Ordinance 2002 provided a mechanism for an aggrieved person to file a complaint against any licensed media and will give its opinion on such complaints.

The court observed that although the plaintiff had alleged that the Pemra had failed in its duties, it had not claimed to have availed itself of the available legal remedy against such broadcasting.

The court observed that the plaintiff prima facie had not resorted to such available legal course rather it came to seek a mandatory direction and declaration about programmes, being broadcast relating to plaintiff.

“It is the absolute domain of the authority to ensure broadcasting within the code or Section 20 (c) of the Ordinance,” the court observed adding that a civil court can competently examine the act or order of the authority but cannot legally assume the jurisdiction of that authority as it shall amount interfering into functions of legally constituted authority.

The court observed that such relief even prima facie could not be entertained through list by claiming or alleging broadcasting to be defamatory and dismissed the lawsuit as well as all interlocutory applications.The court noted in order that the plaintiff can competently file a case against every single defamation, if established, under the Defamation Ordinance 2002.

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