Surujbally files libel suit against CN Sharma
December 30, 2006
GECOM Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally has filed a libel and defamation suit against the leader of one of the political parties that contested the August 28 general elections.
Dr. Surujbally is claiming $50,000 in damages from JFAP leader CN Sharma, in addition to other relief the court might deem just plus costs. The suit is as a result of remarks Sharma allegedly made on CNS Channel 6 on November 25 and 30. Sharma already faces a similar lawsuit brought by Chief Election Officer Gocool Boodoo.
Justice Winston Patterson, who is hearing the matter, has granted an interim injunction restraining Sharma and his agents from repeating the statements complained about or anything similar until the determination of the matter. A similar injunction has been granted in Boodoo's case.
The matter has been adjourned until January 17 when Patterson will hear it in chambers.
In the supporting affidavit, Dr. Surujbally charges that Sharma made a personal attack on both him and Chief Election Officer Boodoo. He said the remarks on the programmes related to him personally and professionally. "They are totally unjustified," Dr. Surujbally says, "They are damaging to my character and are intended to be."
He strongly denied Sharma's statements and he noted that he is obliged to act impartially in the performance of his duties. He said that from all indications Sharma would continue to repeat the remarks. Added to that, in light of the elections petition that Sharma has filed naming him as a defendant it would not be proper and appropriate for him to make public comments on the issue. As a result, he says he is forced to remain tight-lipped while Sharma appears at liberty to repeat and reassert his defamatory statements.