Monday, April 22, 2024

𝗝𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹𝗗𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗺™

𝙰𝙵𝙵𝙾𝚁𝙳𝙰𝙱𝙻𝙴 & 𝙰𝙲𝙲𝙴𝚂𝚂𝙸𝙱𝙻𝙴

IPCMODEL ANSWER

DEFAMATION

Explain in detail the offence of defamation given under section 499 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The most celebrated article of Indian Constitution i.e., Article 21 not only provides right to live a life but it provides right to live a dignified life and to live a dignified life, having reputation is one of the most important aspects. If any person tries to injure the reputation of another person by whatever means, he directly attacks the right of another person given by article 21 of the Indian Constitution and for such an act, the wrongdoer can be held liable for having committed the offence of defamation given under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, deals with the provisions of defamation and according to this section, if any person either by words spoken or written or by signs or gestures makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person with an intention to harm the reputation of that person or with a knowledge that such imputation will harm the reputation of that person, then in such a case, an accused will be held liable for having committed the offence of defamation given under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

According to the provisions of section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, a person cannot be only held liable for having committed the offence of defamation if he harms the reputation of a living person. He can be held liable if he harms or tries to harm the reputation of a deceased person with an intention that such an act would be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives.

 

Moreover, if an accused makes any imputation with regard to any company or collection of persons with an intention to harm the reputation of the company or collection of persons, then also, he can be held liable for having committed the offence of defamation given under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Now, one primary question which arises here is, “what does the term defamation mean?”

In general parlance, it can be stated that defamation is a kind of injury to the reputation of a person resulting from a statement which is considered false. According to the legal jurisprudence, reputation of each and every person is considered as one of the most crucial property and if any person tries to harm that property, then in such a case, it is a duty of Indian justice delivery system to punish the wrongdoer and according to section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, if any person is held liable for having committed the offence of defamation given under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, then in such a case, he shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.

 

According to the legal jurisprudence, defamation can be classified into two forms: – 1. Slander 2. Libel

In general sense, slander is a publication of a defamatory statement in a transient form i.e., by way of words or gestures whereas libel is a representation made in some permanent form i.e., by way of writing or printing. Under English law, libel is considered as a crime whereas slander is considered only as a civil wrong. But Indian law does not make any distinction between libel and slander and both are treated as criminal offences.

In the leading case of Hirabai Jehangir vs. Dinshwadulji (Bom 1927), the Hon’ble Bombay High Court held that no distinction needs to be made between treating libel and slander as criminal offences.

  

According to the provisions of section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, to held an accused liable for having committed the offence of defamation, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove the main elements of the defamation and these are as follows: –

  1. The statement must be defamatory in nature
  2. The statement must be made with respect to an aggrieved person
  3. The statement must be published i.e., it must be made to some third person

In the leading case of Ram Jethmalani vs. Subramanian Swamy (Del 2006), the Hon’ble Delhi High Court held that an accused can be held liable for having committed the offence of defamation only if it is proved that the statement made by the accused was defamatory in nature.

 

Moreover, in the leading case of Mahendra Ram vs. Harnandan Prasad (Pat 1958), the Hon’ble Patna High Court held the defendant liable for sending a defamatory letter to plaintiff written in Urdu knowing that the plaintiff did not knew Urdu and the letter will very likely be read over by another person.

According to the provisions of section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, if any person makes any imputation with an intention to harm the reputation of another person, then only he can be held liable under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. But if he makes any imputation without any intention to harm the reputation of another person, then in such a situation, during the criminal proceedings, he can raise the defences given to him by the Criminal Justice system and these are as follows: –

  1. Justification of truth
  2. Fair comment
  3. Privileges both absolute and qualified

In the leading case of Radheyshyam Tiwari vs. Eknath (Bom 1985), the Hon’ble Bombay High Court held that if the defendant is not able to prove the truth of the facts, then in such a case, defence cannot be availed.

  

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