For example, A, a shopkeeper, says to B, who manages his business, “ Sell nothing to Z unless he pays you ready money, as I am doubtful of his honesty. For example, X publishes serious allegations of bribery against Y in a newspaper. It reads, “. . Hence, for example, if Times of India publishes a news item which it knows to be defamatory or having a good reason to believe that it is defamatory, then it would be punishable under Section 500, 501 as well as 502. there was a malicious intention while publishing these words. If the defendant is not able to prove the truth of the facts, the defense cannot be availed. 1. Illustration- If A, a bank publishes a notice to all its branches to not give the loan to any person from xyz as the people of xyz are more often repeated defaulters. Indian Penal Code lays down that “a person is allowed to prefer an accusation against others, in good faith, to any person who has lawful authority to punish the accused”. Hence, such statements shall be defamation. Under Section 499, it is not essential that proof of actual harm is shown for it to constitute the offence of defamation. Scope of Explanation 2—The Class or Community Must Be Clearly Identifiable, The imputation, for it to be defamatory must attack the method of conducting the affairs of the company, of fraud, mismanagement or its financial position. Former radio broadcaster Alan Jones has finally settled a defamation lawsuit with SBS over a segment that branded him a racist, a misogynist and a liar. Under Indian law, liability is not imposed for defaming the dead. A public good is a question of fact that has to be determined. However, in essence, it must be true and fair. If A an employer scolds his employee B for not coming on time in front of the whole staff, then B cannot take the plea that A has injured the reputation of B. It grants immunity from civil and criminal action to such a publication if it is without malice and for the public good and if the report is substantially true.” In Matters Personally Defaming the Governor, His Personal Authorisation is a must. Intermediaries like social media platforms or search engines should not be held responsible for the defamatory content published on their website as they don’t enjoy any creative control over this content. However, if a third person wrongfully reads a letter meant for the plaintiff, then the defendant likely to be liable. , also held that the typist of the lawyer who typed such defamatory notice shall also not be liable. It is important to note that even though a corporation has no ‘mind’ or ‘body’, thus it cannot suffer damages in that, however, it still has a ‘business reputation’, which if harmed by defamatory statements can lead to the tortious liability for the offence of defamation. The person taking the benefit of this defence must ensure that the statement he made is fair and honest and he has the onus to prove that the said imputation was true or that there existed circumstances which made him believe that the information was true. The husband shall not be liable for any claim or demands of the children and the wife shall keep the husband indemnified from and against all claims and demands in respect of such children. In another recent case of Arun Jaitley v Arvind Kejriwal, the court held the statement said by Arvind Kejriwal and his 5 other leaders to be defamatory. It is essential to note that as per Section 199(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 unless a person is under the age of 18, any person who is not of sound mind or is suffering from any disease, making it impossible for him to render a complaint, can take the help of another person to file a complaint if he is aggrieved. The third exception to Section 499 states that a fair, honest and true criticism of servants of the public will not create the offence of defamation and in fact succeed the test of fair comment. But if he publishes the same in a newspaper, the statement shall not be able to take the benefit of this exception. It is often the case that prima facie a statement may not appear to be defamatory but because of some hidden/latent or secondary meaning, the statement may be considered to be defamatory. Now due to this B, a resident of xyz has suffered a huge loss. Under this exception, even if good faith has to be established, the imputation must be made for the protection of interest of the person making it. Illustration- If a person wrote that all doctors were thieves, then no particular doctor could sue him unless there was something that pointed out that the person actually intended to defame him individually. Here, it is essential to prove that the person making the statement had knowledge or reason to believe that such a statement would harm the reputation of the complainant. The Supreme Court in the case of. Slander is no offense. Determining whether an accused can take the plea of good faith is a question of fact and it has to be kept in mind that there must be honesty of purpose on the part of the accused. The statement needs to be made in good faith. The principle established in Wason v. Walter was not applicable in India which was inconsistent and conflicting until the year 1956. This will ensure that only the cases of serious nature are brought to court and the burden on the judiciary is reduced by eliminating groundless accusations. Hence, if a defamatory letter is sent directly to the person defamed or if the statements are made over a telephonic conversation which wasn’t heard by others, there will be no offence under Section 499 as there is no publication of it. For instance, the court held that the letter from husband to his wife containing defamatory matter concerning the father-in-law won’t amount to defamation. For there to constitute an offence of civil defamation, the requirements under the law must include not just a substantial proof but also substantial loss to the reputation. Sometimes it may happen that the statement was prima facie innocent but because of some secondary meaning, it may be considered to be defamatory. that you are using cocaine during some part of the divorce proceedings, for example. The statement mentioned that a particular person carrying business of Agarbathis to Ceylon has been arrested for the offense of smuggling. Although there are various reforms which need to be introduced, there has been much debate revolving on the need to decriminalize defamation but since the Supreme Court has adjudged on the constitutionality of criminal defamation, we shall be focusing on other reforms. Whether the exceptions can be availed by the accused is a matter of trial and does not have to be looked into at the stage of enquiry under Section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as was held in the case of Balraj Khanna v Moti Lal. Thus, if a teacher calls a student lazy or an employer admonishes an employee for coming late, the same would not fall under the offence as envisaged under Section 499. If the person to whom the statement was published could reasonably infer that the statement referred to him, the defendant will then be liable. There is a requirement for a specific complaint, and not one of a general nature. It is important to note that this exception cannot be taken by the accused if the imputation which is alleged to be defamatory is made in good faith. Ponnen v. M.C. A number of petitions were filed by various politicians like Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal etc. Who made the imputation and what is his position in society? The husband shall not be liable for any claim or demands of the children and the wife shall keep the husband indemnified from and against all claims and demands in respect of such children. Imputation of unchastity or adultery to any woman or girl. Under Section 499, vide Explanation 2 states that even if the statement refers to a company or an association of person, it can be considered defamation. This news item was negligently published by the newspaper and caused a lot of ridicule at the girl. For example- Defaming a person through a representation made in some permanent form like writing, printing etc. Under Section 52 of the IPC, due care and attention are the prerequisites to invoking good faith. Explanation 4: What is Harming Reputation? In the landmark case of Chaman Lal v State of Punjab, the Supreme Court held that to prove good faith under exception 8 & 9, certain questions can  be looked at: Under this exception, a person is required to establish that the imputations were a result of ‘good faith’  and was meant for ‘public good’. In the case of Radheyshyam Tiwari v. Eknath court held the defendants for publishing defamatory matter against the defendants. Under the law of torts, slander is actionable, except in few cases where special damage has to be proved. It is important to understand why defamation is an offence under the Indian Penal Code. If on publication of the statement, a reasonably prudent man can infer that such statement is about the plaintiff, then the accused shall be liable for the offence. Elements of defamation under the tort law, the alleged defamatory words must refer to the plaintiff and. In Matters Personally Defaming the Governor, His Personal Authorisation is a must. A barrister named Artemis Jones alleged that this was defamatory to him as right-thinking individuals, as well as his friends, believed that the article referred to him even though it was contended by the defendant that the same was an imaginary name used for the purpose of this article. This distinction between libel and slander is mainly on two reasons-. Defamatory case can be filed for the grounds other than 498A allegations made by your wife. The topic of the balance between a husband and wife has become intense, in … The imputation, for it to be defamatory must attack the method of conducting the affairs of the company, of fraud, mismanagement or its financial position. The wife shall pay for and discharge all liabilities or debts incurred by her after the date of these presents, whether for maintenance, support or otherwise and the husband … It grants immunity from civil and criminal action to such a publication if it is without malice and for the public good and if the report is substantially true.”. Hence, as per Section 499, there are certain elements of the offence of defamation. Cancel. The Supreme Court in the case of. This privilege, however, cannot be justified if the said imputation which is alleged to be defamatory is done in excess of the purpose for which it is issued. It is not essential to prove the same beyond reasonable doubt and the mere probability that he did not commit the offence is sufficient. This was further elucidated upon in Vasant Kumar Birla & Ors v. Prakash Jha & Ors where it was held that “There was no action in defamation lies against any libel or slander against dead persons. who were charged under this offence. Therefore, the statement that is alleged to be defamatory must not only be hurtful to the deceased but also to the feelings of the family and relatives. The High Court of Bombay has held that a notice that is defamatory in nature which an individual gets issued through his advocate will not constitute the offence of defamation as all communication between a client and an attorney is private, confidential and privileged and as such is only addressed to the person defamed. In another recent case of Arun Jaitley v Arvind Kejriwal, the court held the statement said by Arvind Kejriwal and his 5 other leaders to be defamatory. If a postman, in the ordinary course of business, delivers a letter, the same being done with good faith and without knowledge of the defamation, shall not be held liable. Under criminal law in the UK, only libel is a crime and under the law of torts, slander will be actionable only if: Under the law followed in India, however, unlike English Law does not differentiate between libel and slander, and hence, both are included in Section 499 and constitute the offence of defamation. Anything that injures the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published, is defamation and is usually punishable by jail time. If a person who is aware that a defamatory statement is false and still repeats or communicates it further, then he can also be held liable for defamation. Therefore, the statement that is alleged to be defamatory must not only be hurtful to the deceased but also to the feelings of the family and relatives. Did the accused satisfy the court that he believed the statement to be true? Further, there isn’t a necessity to prove damages as well. 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The husband shall not be liable for any claim or demands of the children and the wife shall keep the husband indemnified from and against all claims and demands in respect of such children. which tends to lower the reputation of the plaintiff. In the eyes of law, both husband and wife are one person and the communication of a defamatory matter from the husband to the wife or vice versa is no publication and will not come within the purview of, of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 deals with privileged communications between husband and wife and makes them out of the scope of section 499. the court held that the letter from husband to his wife containing defamatory matter concerning the father-in-law will not amount to defamation. However, if the publication of such a statement leads to obstruction in the administration of justice or interferes with due course of justice, then the same shall be summarily punished as contempt of court. These special occasions when the law recognizes that the right of free speech outweighs the plaintiffs right to defamation and a defamatory statement made on such occasion is not actionable. It will very much be covered within the scope of privileged communications between husband and wife as laid in section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872. perceive the person post them coming in contact with such defamatory material. Later X is not able to prove the truthness of these allegations and therefore his comment will not amount to fair comment. There are other defences available with respect to this offence. The Supreme Court in the case of Gour Chandra Rout & Another vs The Public Prosecutor, Cuttack, held that authorization is required on the part of the secretary by the governor to file a complaint alleging defamation. In 1956, the Parliamentary Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Act, 1956 (Act 24 of 1956) adopted the principle established in Wason v. 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