NSE withdraws its Rs100 crore defamation suit against Moneylife, pays Rs50 lakh as cost and penalty
The National Stock Exchange on Tuesday withdrew its Rs100 crore defamation case against Moneywise Media Pvt Ltd, publisher of the fortnightly magazine Moneylife, Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal, founders of Moneylife (together Moneylife). The defamation case related to the publication of a whistleblower’s letter in Moneylife’s web portal that laid bare how certain NSE officials were giving undue advantage to specific brokers in their co-location facility set up for high-frequency trading (HFT).
NSE moved the Bombay High Court on 21 July 2015 to stop the publication and circulation of the article and also asked Moneylife to offer an unconditional apology. This application was heard by Justice Gautam Patel, who passed severe strictures against NSE and imposed a cost and penalty of Rs50 lakhs. Moneywise Media was represented by Advocate Bapoo Malcolm while Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal argued their own positions. NSE had filed an appeal against this order before a division Bench of Bombay HC.
On Tuesday, NSE told the division Bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice ZA Haq that it would honour the judgement of Justice Patel and withdraw appeal in the defamation case. Although the NSE came with demand drafts to pay up, they wanted Justice Patel's order nullified. Senior advocate Iqbal Chagla, counsel for NSE, started by saying that it was never the intention of the Exchange to gag the media. However, he argued hard and vehemently to have Justice Patel's order nullified.