Bengaluru: After Ramesh Jarkiholi of BJP quit his ministership following a sexual harassment allegation against him, more ministers in Karnataka have approached the court demanding that media be restrained from publishing/ airing defamatory content against them.
A video clip purportedly revealing the private moments of Jarkiholi with a woman had leaked into various Karnataka media platforms. This has urged the ministers' to approach the court, fearing 'blackmail'.
Last day, the additional city civil and sessions court in Bengaluru issued an interim order banning the publishment of defamatory news after six ministers filed a petition.
Labour minister Arbail Shivaram Hebbar, Agriculture minister BC Patil, Cooperation minister ST. Somashekhar, Health minister Dr K Sudhakar, Sports and Youth Empowerment minister KC Narayana Gowda, Urban Development minister Byrati Basavaraj were the ministers who filed the petition and received a favourable verdict.
The court stopped 68 media institutions from publishing defamatory news or videos in the interim order. Those who rebelled once to pull down the Congress-JDS government and joined BJP now demand to ban news about them.
They argued in the petition that people with vested interests might attempt to cook up news to defame them, and it should be stopped. Also, 17 MLAs who rebelled against the coalition government faces the same threat, they claimed. ST Somashekhar said that ministers and ten more MLA's are to approach the court demanding the same.
ST Somashekhar also said that there is an attempt to tarnish the political image they built through the years, and they are targeted because they turned against the coalition.
Meanwhile, union minister DV Sadananda Gowda criticised the ministers' move pointing out that it could create more doubts. Under the current circumstances, banning media from publishing stories would give space for more suspicions and rumours, and the issue should have been faced individually, he added. But BJP responded that the ministers' move is their matter.
The opposition said that the ministers fear something similar to what Jarkiholi was alleged for, and hence they are in a frenzy.
If there are videos against him, MLA Muniratna asked to broadcast it nationally and added that he is not going to court out of fear. He was also in the rebel group that joined BJP.