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Sharda Universitys 2nd Anand Swaroop Gupta Memorial National Moot

2017

Team Code: ___

BEFORE THE HONBLE HIGH COURT OF ..

APPELLATE JURISDICTION

UNDER SECTION 96 OF CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1908

APPEAL NO. _______ OF 2017

BABA SATYANAND

AMARCHAND

...APPELLANTS

V.

SILBIL MAGAZINE

...RESPONDENTS

SUBMISSION BEFORE

THE HONOURABLE JUDGES OF THE HONOURABLE HIGH COURT OF ..

MEMORANDUM ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT


SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Baba Satyanand is a well-known religious leader and preacher in India who has a large group of
people following him because of his teachings and mantras to live life purely and religiously and
one prominent teaching is not to touch the liquor. His influence is so strong that his followers
have started a new sect called Satyas.

Silbil Magazine publishes stories cartoons based on fiction and in its parody column where they
publish mocking cartoons of relevant descriptions of contemporary nature. It has been stated
that while publishing it uses the element of factual truth only and modifies accordingly to suit the
parody content and it also gives disclaimer of innocent use of humor.

In the august 2015 issue, the Magazine published the parody column containing the description
of Baba Satyanand campaigning in an advertisement of a liquor brand, as a parody to his
teaching of non-consumption of liquor and showed that Baba was holding the bottle in his hand
and describing to his people the importance and about the first-hand experience. The followers of
Baba didnt find it proper and they began protesting against the Magazine. A nation- wide
meeting was called of followers of Satyas in Delhi where it was decided that a legal action
would be taken against Silbil Magazine.

Baba Satyanand himself filed a suit for damages for defamation against Silbil Magazine on the
charges pertaining to defamation and mental distress. He sought a compensation of rs1 crore and
demanded stopping of the circulation of the Silbil Magazines august issue. Silbil Magazine took
the defence of innocent humor and reiteraded its freedom to publish the same under freedom of
press. The district court held Silbil not liable on the ground of innocent humour and did not order
to stop the circulation of the issue of Silbil Magazine but the court found the element of mental
distress and awarded a compensation of rs 30 lakhs but Baba appealed In the high court because
he was unsatisfied with the decision.

Another appeal was filed by the Silbil Magazine in which the contested the impugned order.
During the pendency of the appeal,a follower of Baba Satyanand mr.Amarchand, filed another
suit for permanent injunction and damages against Silbil Magazine and he pleaded for

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT
SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

compensation for mental distress causes to Satyas community due to insult of their godly figure.
The court dismissed the suit and Amarchand also appealed in the high court.

The High court clubbed the three appeals and posted for final hearings on the broad issues
pertaining to personal distress and defamation.

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT
SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION

Baba Satyanand and Amachand, hereafter referred to as the appellants, have approached the
Honble High Court of . Under Section 96 1 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 against Silbil
Magazine, hereafter referred to as the Respondents.

1 Appeal from original decree.- (1) Save where otherwise expressly provided in the body of this Code or by any
other law for the time being in force, an appeal shall lie from every decree passed by any court exercising original
jurisdiction to the court authorized to hear appeals from the decisions of such court.(2) An appeal may lie from an
original decree passed ex parte.
(3) No appeal shall lie from a decree passed by the court with the consent of parties.
(4) No appeal shall lie, except on a question of law, from a decree in any suit of the nature cognizable by courts of
small causes, when the amount or value of the subject matter of the original suit does not exceed ten thousand
rupees.

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT
SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED

A. THE PICTURE PUBLISHED IN SILBIL MAGAZINE WAS DEFAMATORY.

Defamation is a false statement or suggestion of fact to the prejudice of a man's reputation; insult
consists in words or conduct offensive to a man's dignity.2 It is the publication of a statement
which tends to lower a person in the estimation of right thinking members of society generally, 3
or which tends to make them shun or avoid that person. 4 An imputation which exposes one to
disgrace and humiliation, ridicule or contempt, is defamatory. In the present case Baba
Satyanand who is treated to be a godly figure and has a large number of people following him
because of his teachings and mantras to live life purely and he preaches not to touch the liquor is
shown in a cartoon holding a bottle of liquor in his hand and he is describing his pupil of
firsthand experience and its importance. It is clearly a statement which will lower his respect,
reputation in the eyes of his followers as well as the other people of the society. It is a false
statement which will lower his reputation in the society. Baba Satyanand was defamed by
printing his picture which is wrongly depicting his character and lowering his esteem because all
the 3 essentials are being fulfilled which are necessary for the defamation of a person.

1. The Statement Must Be Defamatory

A defamatory statement is one which has a tendency to injure the reputation of the person to
whom it refers; which tends, that is to say, to lower him in the estimation of right thinking
members of society generally and in particular to cause him to be regarded with feelings of
hatred, contempt, ridicule, fear, dislike, or disesteem. 5 In simple words a defamatory statement is
one which tends to injure the reputation of the plaintiff In the estimation of right thinking
members of the society. in this particular case Baba Satyanand is shown advertising a liquor

2 Bavisetti Venkata Surya Rao vs Nandipati Muthayya AIR 1964 AP 382

3 Sim v. Stretch (1936) 52 T.L.R. 669 p.671

4 Winfield, Tort, 12th ed. p.293

5 Deepak Kumar Biswas vs National Insurance Co. Ltd. AIR 2006 Gau 110

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT
SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

brand, though it is used as a parody but it injured the reputation of Baba because he never
promoted liquor instead he was of the view to not to touch the liquor, and by publishing false
images they are lowering his reputation in the eyes of the people. Using someones picture
without his consent is unlawful and moreover after such publication his followers can start
seeing him as person of low morals and can regard him with feeling of hatred, contempt, ridicule
and dislike him. It is said that Silbil Magazine only uses the element of factual truth and modifies
it accordingly to suit the parody content but hereby there is no factual truth that Baba promotes
liquor consumption. So through false imagery they are trying to lower the reputation of Baba
Satyanand and hence it is a defamatory statement.

The Innuendo

Sometimes a statement may prima facie be innocent but because of some latent or secondary
meaning it is considered to be defamatory. Though Silbil Magazine claimed that they were just
making a parody and were showing innocent use of humor may be humorous prima facie but it
was defaming to Baba because he never preached his pupil the importance and his firsthand
experience rather he was not in the its favor. So, by showing wrongful and false statements
though for humor they are defaming Baba Satyanand. Acting in good faith and without any
intention to defame the plaintiff is no defence.6 When the words are considered to be defamatory
by the persons to whom the statement is published, there is defamation, even though the person
making the statement believed it to be innocent.7 Obvious innocence of the defendants was no
defence and the defendants were held liable. the defense of innocent humor is not applicable
since the statement made is defamatory in nature.

2. The Statement Must Refer To The Plaintiff

In an action for defamation it is necessary that the statement or image referred to the plaintiff. If
the person to whom the statement was published could reasonably infer that the statement
referred to the plaintiff, the defendant was nevertheless held liable. It is immaterial that the
6 Newstead v London Express Newspaper, Limited [1940] 1 KB 377

7 Cassidy v. Daily Mirror Newspapers Ltd (1929)

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT
SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

defendant did not intend to defame the plaintiff. In order for defamation of a person, the ordinary
readers of the paper who knew him would have understood that it referred to him. 8 In the present
case Silbil Magazine used the picture of Baba Satyanand holding a liquor bottle which was a
direct usage of his picture and it related to him. His followers as well as the subscribers of the
Magazine were able to infer that it referred to Baba Satyanand only due to which all the protests
began in the nation and meetings were called. hence rational and right thinking people were able
to infer that it referred to him so the essential is fulfilled.

3. The Statement Must Be Published

Publication means making the defamatory matter known to some person other than the person
defamed. If other people come to know about the matter, it is well in hand published. In the
present case, the followers of Baba Satyanand saw the cartoon published in the Magazine and
many other subscribers of the Magazine might have seen the cartoon. The matter was hence
published and the matter was known to some other people other than the person defamed.

All the three essentials of defamation are being fulfilled due to which reputation of Baba
Satyanand is being injured as well as his character is at stake. He is being regarded as a person of
low morals and with disesteem. Showing false things instead of the truth is wrong on the part of
Silbil Magazine to defame a person who has strong influence on his followers and treated to be a
godly figure.

Further, the Silbil Magazine states that they used only the element of factual truth and further
modified it to suit the parody but herein there was no factual truth that Baba Satyanand preached
his pupil the importance of drinking or his first-hand experiences with liquor. They are trying to
use their imaginary statements and in turn defaming a person who is highly reputed just because
his preaching is to never touch liquor. Magazine is stating false facts in their Magazine which is
against their own policy so they have a liability in this case.

Another thing to be kept in mind is that Baba is shown in the cartoon, campaigning in an
advertisement of liquor brand. No advertisement shall be published, which promotes directly

8 E. Hulton & Co. v. Jones 220 F. Supp. 598, 1963 U.S. Dist.

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT
SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

or indirectly production, sale or consumption of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol,


liquor and other intoxicants.9 Firstly they are using the picture of Baba without his consent and
further they are showing unlawful content in their Magazine which is banned in India. No
content promoting consumption of liquor should be published which is an unlawful thing on the
part of Silbil Magazine which makes it clear that Baba shown doing unlawful things is defaming
to his image and character. The defence which Silbil Magazine is taking is that of freedom of
press which comes under Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution which gives press to publish
and print anything but with certain restrictions which comes under Article 19(2) of the Indian
Constitution. It is held in the restrictions that freedom of speech and expression cannot be used to
transgress the law relating to defamation. Any statement which is defamatory in nature and is
intended to harm the reputation of a person should not be printed or published. The right to
freedom of speech and expression is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2). Such
restrictions can be in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State,
friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt
of court, defamation or incitement to an offence. 10 So it is no defence in the particular case that it
was their freedom of press and they cannot escape the liability even they gave a disclaimer
because any matter which is intended to be defamatory must not be published and further the
Magazine took the defence of innocent humor,The liability for the defamation did not depend
upon the intention of the defendant to defame, but upon the fact that the statement made by him
was considered to be defamatory.11 In this suit Baba Satyanand was clearly defamed and hence
the Magazine cannot escape through this liability to pay damages under the freedom of press as it
was their prior responsibility to make sure that the content they publish is not harming someones
reputation and raising a doubt on his character.

Amarchand who is a follower of Baba Satyanand and has his religious sentiments attached to
Baba Satyanand suffered from mental and personal distress because of the insult of Baba

9 36(ii) Press Council of India (NORMS OF JOURNALISTIC CONDUCT)

10 Devendrappa M.H. V/s Karnataka State Small Industries Development Corporation ILR 1988 KAR
950

11 Supra 5

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT
SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

Satyanand and the distress caused to the Satya community due to false propagation of the
importance of liquor which, in fact is prohibited in the community. Amarchand suffered from
grief and distress due to the attitude of others adopted towards him after his religious leader was
insulted in the public. In an action for defamation, the wrongful act is damage to the plaintiffs
reputation. The injuries that he sustains may be classified under two heads :

(i) the consequences of the attitude adopted to him by other persons as a result of the
diminution of the esteem in which they hold him because of the defamatory statement,
and
(ii) the grief or annoyance caused by the defamatory statement to the plaintiff himself.12

In this case, Amarchand has said that he mentally suffered agony for the publication which has
been made and hence he is entitled to seek compensation for them. The quantum of damages
cannot be decided, they must be decided by the court for the harm to his religious sentiments.

12 Pijush Kanti Datta vs Mangilal Gidia AIR 1987 Cal 136

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT
SHARDA UNIVERSITYS 2ND ANAND SWAROOP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT, 2017

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

Wherefore in the light of facts of the case, arguments advanced and authorities cited, it is most
humbly prayed before the Honble Court that it may be pleased to hold, adjudge and declare-

1. THE PICTURE PUBLISHED IN SILBIL MAGAZINE WAS DEFAMATORY.

And/or any other relief that this Honble Court may be pleased to grant in the interest of justice,
Equity and Good conscience.

And in these premises the Petitioner as duty bound shall forever pray.

Sd/-

Counsels on behalf of Petitioner

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MEMORIAL ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT