While considering whether the complaint was maintainable against Chandrasekhar without arraigning the company as an accused, the Court noted that under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, permission was granted to Asianet News Network Private Limited for uplink and downlink news to a current affairs TV channel, and not the Managing Director of the channel.
“The Managing Director is supposed to have control over the management of the television channel and its financial aspects; he cannot be seen to be directly concerned with the airing of the news items except when there are no materials to draw such conclusion that the Managing Director was also privy to the airing of the said news. The petitioner could not have been roped in for having committed the offence under Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC,” the order stated.
Relying on Supreme Court judgments, the Bench observed that it is well-settled law that there cannot be vicarious liability in criminal law. Thus, Chandrasekhar could not be held vicariously liable for the acts committed by the news channel and its employees, it was held.