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Published: Tuesday April 6, 2010 MYT 2:39:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday April 6, 2010 MYT 2:41:15 PM

Indian actress wins defamation suit against magazine

KUALA LUMPUR: Indian movie and drama actress G.Yuvarani, who is married to a Malaysian businessman, won RM70,000 in damages in her defamation suit against two distributors and the publisher of popular monthly magazine Indian Movie News (IMN).

High Court Judicial Commissioner Varghese George Varughese ruled that the defendants had failed to establish their defence of justification and liability for the publication of two defamatory articles relating to the actress.

Justice Varghese said he found the statements published by the defendants had the tendency to injure the actress in her standing, character and reputation, and to bring scandal and contempt to her name.

"The statements, taken separately or together, satisfied the test of having a tendency to portray the plaintiff negatively amongst readers and others interested in the personal affairs of stars in Tamil movies and serials.

"Those statements or reports did not have as a foundation, some interview given or statement made in the first place by the plaintiff," he said in his 45-page written judgement made available to the press Tuesdasy.

Justice Varghese said it is also obvious to the court that there was no form of independent verification undertaken by those responsible at IMN to check or confirm the truth of the statements on her.

The judicial commissioner ordered the defendants to pay an interest of 8% per annum to the actress from the date of judgment on April 1 until full settlement.

He also asked the defendants to pay litigation costs to the actress, who gained recognition for her leading role in the Tamil mega drama serial Chitti.

However, Justice Varghese said he was satisfied that the contract printer, Percetakan Kum Sdn Bhd, was not liable for defamation.

Yuvarani, 35, filed the civil suit in 2003 against Percetakan Kum, distributor of IMN in Peninsular Malaysia Mentakab Agency (M) Sdn Bhd, publisher Indian Movie News Publications (M) Sdn Bhd and IMN distributor in Singapore, Indian Movie News Publications P/L.

The actress claimed she had been defamed by material printed and published in the Tamil language by the defendants in two issues of IMN, namely the April 1998 and August 1998 issues.

She alleged that the materials published were false and done with malicious intent.

In her statement of claim, Yuvarani stated that the words published implied among others, that she was involved in prostitution, lusted after men, and was immoral.

Yuvarani, 35, has had a home in Malaysia since 1998.

Her lawyer M. Manoharan told reporters that the actress, now in India, had contacted him to express her happiness and hoped Malaysians would not look at her in a prejudicial manner as her name had been cleared by the Malaysian court.

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