Human Rights lawyer M Ravi will be appearing in State Court this coming Wednesday (16 Dec), to answer to a Criminal Defamation charge under Section 499 of the Penal Code for a Facebook post that he made on 6 Nov this year.
Mr Ravi was informed by the Police yesterday that he is being charged for the offence and issued with the charge sheet.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Mr Ravi wrote that he will contest this charge as he knows the law is clearly on his side.
“There is nothing to fear my friends except fear itself. As a human rights lawyer, i cannot escape but to face such intimidation by the state.”
He wrote, “It is confounding and baffling that I am being charged with defamation as the post was highlighting a very relevant issue of public interest regarding two persons who hold important positions in the Executive and Judiciary, the Minister of Law and the Chief Justice.” and that he had made his stand very clearly in the last paragraph of the excerpt, exonerating both Mr Shanmugan and CJ Menon.
Earlier in its statement on 7 November, the police said that the Public Prosecutor has issued an order pursuant to Section 16(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code for the Police to investigate into the offence.
The offending material pertains to Mr Ravi’s claims in his 6 Nov Facebook post, which alleged that lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam had told him that Mr Shanmugam had said he “wields influence over the Chief Justice” and “calls the shot and controlls (sic) Sundaresh Menon”.
In its statement, the police added that Mr Thuraisingam wrote a letter to Mr Shanmugam the day before, in which Mr Thuraisingam said that “[t]here is absolutely no truth whatsoever” to Mr Ravi’s allegations”.
Mr Thuraisingam added that Mr Ravi had made similar allegations in a Facebook post on 12 June 2017.
He similarly reportedly clarified with Mr Shanmugam the next day that Mr Ravi’s allegations were false.
Police said in its statement earlier this month that no action was taken in relation to the 2017 incident.
Following police investigations commenced upon Mr Ravi, he shared that was the police who had filed a report on the matter.
Penalty for criminal defamation if found guilty is imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years, or with fine, or with both.