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DEFAMATION
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qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwe
Munazir Hasan
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BA.LLB(Hons), 2nd YEAR (IVth Sem)
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FACULTY OF LAW
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JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA
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fghjklzxcvbnmqwwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfg
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

For the successful completion of this project , I would like to thank my Criminal Law
teacher Mr.Aquib Husain.He made the concepts of the subject so clear in my mind
that it became very easy for me to work on this topic. It would not have been possible
to complete the project work without his guidance.

I would also like to thank the staff of the library of faculty of law who were a constant
support throughout the project making.

Munazir Hasan
LIST OF CASES-

Govind Charyulu v. Sheshagiri Rao AIR 1941 Mad 860(861)

R v. Robinson (1971) 1 QB 357

Narottamdas v. Patel Maganabhai 1984CrLJ1790 (Guj)

Horilal v. Vishwanath 1957 Cr LJ 1360

K.S Namjundaiah v. S.C Thippanna AIR 1952 Mys 123

Chellappen Pillai case 1961 KLT 1006


.
Kanwal Lal case AIR 1963 SC 1317

N.K Singh v. R.B.Singh AIR 1964 Manipur20

Bhikachand case AIR 1927 Sindh24

Laxminarayan Singh v. Shriram 1982 Cr LR 68(MP)

McCarthy (1887) 1 LR 9 ALL420

Raja Shah (1889) P.R. No 14 of1889

Wenman v. Ash (1853) 13 CB 836

Shibo Prasad Pandah (1878) 4 Cal124


Monson v. Tussaudas Ltd (1894) 1 QB671

Q.E v. McLeod 1880 ILR 3 ALL 342

Mukund Chitnis v. Madhuri Chitnis AIR 1992 SC 1840

Sunilkhya v. H.M Jadwet

Radha Govind Dutta v. Saila Kumar AIR 1950 Cal 343

Vishan Sarup v. Nardeo Shastri AIR 1965 ALL 439

K. Rama Rao v. Emperor AIR 1943 Oudh 1

Purushottam v. State of Madhya Pradesh (1961) 2 Cr LJ 114

Annanda Prasad v. Manotosan Roy AIR 1953 Cal 503

Emperor v. Abdul Wadood Ahmed (1907) 1 LR 31 Bom293

Jotinder Nath Mukherji case AIR 1934 Pat 548

Ramesh Roy v. King AIR 1952 Cal 228(229)

Sahib Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 1965 SC 1451

Harbhajan Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 1966 SC 97

Manna v. Ram Galam AIR 1950 ALL 619

Thiagaraya v. Krishnasami 1892 ILR 15 Mad 215


INTRODUCTION

The law gives protection to a man’s reputation, which to some is dearer than life
itself. Love of reputation inspires people to do great things, acquire fame and name,
which is the mainspring of life in every walk of life. The aim of the law of defamation
is to protect one’s reputation, honour and dignity in the society. A person needs
protection of his reputation, honour, integrity and character as much as the right to the
enjoyment of property, health personal safety, liberty and a number of other
privileges.

According to Windfield and Jolowics1-


“Defamation is the publication of a statement which reflects on a person’s reputation
and tends to lower him in the estimation of right thinking members of the society
generally or tends to make them shun or avoid him”

Defamation (libel), an injury to a person’s reputation, is both a crime and a civil


wrong. An aggrieved person may file a criminal prosecution as well as a civil suit for
damages for defamation.
In Govind Charyulu v. Sheshagiri Rao, 2 it was held that withdrawal of a criminal
complaint on tender of apology is no bar to a civil action for libel unless there is a
specific agreement barring a civil action.

The law of civil defamation, as in English and other common law countries, is
uncodified in India; it is largely based on case law. The law of criminal defamation on
the other hand is codified in section 499 to 502 IPC. In England the publication of a
criminal libel is a punishable to the extent of 1 year imprisonment and fine; and if the
publication is with the knowledge of its untruth 2 years vide section 5 of the Libel
Act, 1843.3

1
On tort 10th edition by W.V.H Rogers (1984).p.293.
2
AIR 1941 Mad 860(861).
3
Smith and Hogan Criminal law, 6th edn,(1988),pp 822-825.
In a civil action for defamation in tort, truth is a defence, but in a criminal action, the
accused must prove both the truth of the matter and that its publication was for the
public good. The defence of truth is not satisfied merely by proving that the publisher
honestly believed the statement to be true, he must prove that the statement was in
fact true.

Sec-499. Defamation-

Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible


representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person
intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation
with harm, the reputation of such person , is said , except in the cases hereinafter,
to defame that person.

Explanation 1- It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person,


if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person if living and is intended to
be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives.

Explanation 2- It may amount to defamation to make an imputation concerning a


company or an association or collection of persons as such.

Explanation 3- An imputation in the form of an alternative or expressed ironically,


may amount to defamation.

Explanation 4- No imputation is said to harm a person’s reputation, unless that


imputation directly or indirectly, in the estimation of others, lowers the moral or
intellectual character of that person, or lowers the character of that person in respect
of his caste or of his calling, or lowers the credit of that person, or causes it to be
believed that the body of that person is in a loathsome state, or in a state generally
considered as disgraceful.
ILLUSTRATIONS

 A says-“Z is an honest man; he never stole B’s watch”, intending to cause it


to be believed that Z did steal B’s watch. This is defamation, unless it falls
within one of the exceptions.
 A is asked who stole B’s watch. A point to Z, intending to cause it to be
believed that Z stole B’s watch. This is defamation unless it falls within one of
the exceptions
 A draws a picture of Z running away with B’s watch, intending it to be
believed that Z stole B’s watch. This is defamation, unless it falls within one
of the exceptions.

Ingredients of Defamation

The offence of defamation consists of the following essential ingredients, viz:-


1) Making or publishing of an imputation concerning a person;
2) Such imputation should have been made,
a) by words either spoken or written, or
b) by signs or
c) by visible representations;

3) The said imputation should have been made with intent to harm or knowing or
having reason to believe that it will harm the reputation of such person or defame
him.4

The section is aimed at protection of the reputation, integrity and honour of the
persons. The definition of the offence contains three important elements, viz..,
I. the person
II. his reputation and
III. the harm to reputation of the person with necessary mens rea (guilty mind).

4
R v. Robinson,(1971) 1 QB 357.
If the imputation is defamatory per se, necessary mens rea will be presumed. The
maker of the statement must know that it will harm the reputation of one concerning
whom the allegation is made.
Explanation 1 includes even a dead person. The gist of the offence is dissemination of
harmful imputation concerning a person.5

The offence is non-cognizable, bailable, compoundable with the permission of the


court, and triable by the Court of Session.

Imputation

Imputation implies an accusation which is something more than an expression of


suspicion. Some of the imputations that have been held to be defamatory are : to call a
man a drunkard,6 black marketeeer,7 goonda,8 a woman of loose character,9 an
illegitimate person,10a trader as an insolvent,11 imputation against the deceased,12 etc.
similarly, the words,’coward’, dishonest man, and something worse than either, and
words to the effect that the complainant and others were preparing to bring a false
charge against the accused13 were held to be defamatory.

It is immaterial whether the imputation is conveyed obliquely or indirectly, or by way


of question, conjecture, exclamation, or by irony.

5
Narottamdas v. Patel Maganabhai Revabha, 1984 Cr LJ 1790(Guj).
6
Horilal v. Vishwanath, 1957 Cr LJ 1360.
7
K.S Namjundaiah v. S.C Thippanna AIR 1952 Mys 123.
8
Chellappen Pillai case 1961 KLT 1006.
9
Kanwal Lal case AIR 1963 SC 1317.
10
N.K Singh v. R.B.Singh AIR 1964 Manipur 20.
11
Bhikachand case AIR 1927 Sindh 24.
12
Laxminarayan Singh v. Shriram Sharma 1982 Cr LR 68(MP)
13
McCarthy. (1887) 1 LR 9 ALL 420.
Concerning any person

The words must contain an imputation concerning some particular person or persons
whose identity can be established. That person need not necessarily be a single
individual. A newspaper is not a person and therefore it is not an offence to defame a
newspaper. Defamation of a newspaper may in certain cases, involve defamation of
those responsible for its publication.14

All those who compose, dictate write or in any way contribute to the making of a libel
are liable for defamation. For instance, if one indicates, other writes and the third
approves of what is written, they are all makers of it and are jointly liable

In case of Sunilkhya v. H.M Jadwet15, it was noted that murdering a man’s


reputation by a libel may be compared to murdering a man in which all who are
present an encourage the act are guilty, though the injury might have been by one
only.

Intention on the part of the accused to harm the reputation, or the knowledge or
reasonable belief that an imputation will harm the reputation of the person concerned
is one of the essential ingredients of the offence of defamation.

Imputation by words either spoken or written

An essential difference between the Indian and the English law is that the former
recognizes words spoken as a mode of defamation, and the latter does not. By the
English law, defamation is a crime only when it is committed by writing, printing,
engraving or some similar process. The Penal code makes no distinction between
written and spoken (verbal) defamation. The term defamation under section 499 is
wide to embrace both libel and slander.

14
Shibo Prasad Pandah,(1878) 4 Cal 124.
15
AIR 1968 Cal 266
The words ‘visible representation’ will include every possible form of defamation
which ingenuity can devise. For instance, a statue, a caricature, effigy, chalk marks on
wall, signs, or pictures etc. may constitute a libel.

In Monson v. Tussaudas Ltd.16, the publication of a group photograph with false


caption in a newspaper depicting the persons in the photograph as soldiers of a
“goondawar” was held to be defamatory.

Publication

The defamatory matter must be published, that is communicated to some person other
than the person about whom it is addressed. For instance, dictation of defamatory
matter in a letter to clerk, writing on a postcard, or printing on paper or distributing or
broadcasting constitutes publication.

When an employee submits a defamatory petition to a superior officer, who in the


ordinary course of an official routine sends for inquiry, there is a publication of the
letter at the place where it is received for which the original writer prima facie would
be responsible.17 Similarly, a communication to a husband or wife of a charge against
the wife or husband is publication, but the uttering of a libel by a husband to his wife
and vice-versa is not, as they are one in the eyes of the law.18

Publication of defamatory matters in newspaper

In the matter of defamation, the position of a newspaper is in no way different from


that of a member of the public in general. The responsibility in either case is the same.
The publisher of a newspaper is responsible for defamatory matter published in the
paper, whether he knew the contents of such paper or not.

16
(1894) 1 QB 671
17
Raja Shah, (1889) P.R. No 14 of 1889.
18
Wenman v. Ash (1853) 13 CB 836.
In Q.E v. McLeod,19 it was held that the sending of a newspaper containing
defamatory matter by post from Calcutta, where it is published, addressed to a
subscriber at Allahabad, is publication of such defamatory matter at Allahabad.

Imputation to harm reputation

There must be an intention to harm the reputation of the complainant or the


knowledge that the imputation will harm the reputation of such person. It is not
necessary that actual harm should result.

In Wahid Ullah Anwari case,20 where certain articles published in a paper contained
scandalous accusations against the girl students of a college, and implied that the girls

were habitually guilty of the misbehaviour described in the articles, each girl
individually suffering in reputation, could bring an action for defamation.

The expression ‘harms’ means harm to the reputation of the aggrieved party. The
meaning attached to the word ‘harm’ is not in the ordinary sense in which it is used.
By ‘harm’ is meant imputation on a man’s character made and expressed to others so
as to a lower him in their estimation. Anything which lowers him merely in his own
estimation does not constitute defamation.

Character and Reputation-Distinguished

Character is what a person actually is; while reputation is what neighbours and others
say that he is. A man may have in fact good character and yet suffer from bad
reputation or vice-versa.21 A man’s opinion of himself cannot be called his reputation.

19
1880 ILR 3 ALL 342.
20
AIR 1935 ALL 743.
21
Narottamdas v. Patil Maganbhai, 1984 Cr LJ 1790
A man has no reputation to himself and, therefore, communication of defamatory to
the person defamed is not publication.

In Mukund Chitnis v. Madhuri Chitnis, 22 it was held that the act of husband
suspecting wife’s chastity on wedding night itself and resorting to mud-slinging and
character assassination amounts to defamation.

Exceptions to section-499 IPC

Section 499 provides ten exceptions to the charge of defamation when a statement
would not attract penalty. These are based on the ground of truth, good faith or public
interest, and strike a balance between freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed
under article

19(1)(a) of the constitution and the individuals right to reputation. The burden of
proof of the exception is on the accused.

These exceptions are as stated below:

First Exception- Imputation of truth in public interest for public good

It is not defamation to impute anything which is true concerning any person, if it be


for the public good that the imputation should be made or published. Whether or not it
is for the public good is a question of fact.

To invoke this Exception two conditions must be proved:-

22
AIR 1992 SC 1840
I. that the alleged imputation regarding the complainant was true; and
II. that its publication was for the public good.

If any one of the two conditions is not satisfied, Exception 1 would not be attracted.
So though the truth of a defamatory matter is a complete defence to an action for
damages in a civil suit, it is not so in a prosecution for the crime of defamation.

Where a person makes a comment upon the conduct of a public servant and it is for
the public good, no action will lie against him so long as the comments are honestly
made and there is no willful misrepresentation. No amount of truth will justify a libel
unless its publication was for the public good. The question of public good has to be
considered from the point of view of the good of the general public as contrary to that
of an individual. The onus of providing the two ingredients is on the appellant. Public
good is a question of fact and good faith has also to be established as a fact.

In Radha Govind Dutta v. Saila Kumar Mukherjee, 23 the accused, an editor of a


newspaper, published an article in the form of a questionnaire referring to certain
defamatory allegations against the complainant contained in a leaflet distributed a few
days prior to the publication by him. The questionnaire made of direct imputation
against the complainant but merely stated that certain complaint had been received
against the complainant and called upon him to remove all doubts in the minds of the
public by stating as to whether the complaints were correct. Held, that the
questionnaire virtually amounted to a publication of the defamatory statements
contained in the leaflet, and the accused would be guilty of the offence of defamation,
unless he was protected by the exceptions mentioned in section 499, IPC. To receive
the benefit of Exception 1, the accused must prove that the statements contained in the
questionnaire were substantially true, i.e. true in regard to the material portion of the
allegation or insinuations.

In Vishan Sarup v. Nardeo Shastri,24 a newspaper editor acts within his legitimate
sphere when he offers criticism of what he considers and bone fide believes it to be

23
AIR 1950 Cal 343
24
AIR 1965 ALL 439
for the good of the community. But he is not protected if under the garb of criticism
he employs language calculated to defame or degrade the character of a public servant
or a private citizen or a politician. In order to pass the test of fair comment the
publication must be free from malice and made bone fide in the public interest.

Second Exception- Public conduct of public servants

It is not defamation to express in a good faith any opinion whatever respecting the
conduct of a public servant in the discharge of his public functions, or respecting his
character, so far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further.
Exception 2 deals with criticism of public servants.

Where an editor of a newspaper is prosecuted for defamation under the section 500,
IPC for publishing some defamatory statements complaining about the conduct of the
jail superintendent towards the prisoners and about the defective sanitary fittings and
medical arrangements in the jail, the accused must show that the opinion expressed by
him was confined to the character of the official concerned so far as it appeared in his
conduct in the discharge of his public functions.

In K. Rama Rao v. Emperor,25 the accused must show that he had reasonable
grounds for believing that the conduct attributed is true. If the accused accepted the
allegations made by certain prisoners affected by the alleged conduct of the jail
superintendent as true, after hearing the interested party only and without giving the
other party concerned an opportunity to refute them, he cannot be said to have acted
with due care and attention and therefore in good faith so as to bring himself within
the second and ninth exception to section 499, IPC.

25
AIR 1943 Oudh 1.
In Purushottam Vijay v. State of Madhya Pradesh,26 the High Court of Madhya
Pradesh, while observing that a newspaper should be more cautious and careful than a
private individual, has stated the requirements of the defence available under the
second and third exception to section 499. These are:

I. the facts (on which the comment is offered) should be substantially true;
II. the comments should be fair, in the sense that they are inspired by a genuine
desire on the part of the writer to serve the public interest, and not by any
intention of venting private spite; and
III. The criticism should be in the public interest, and for public good. It should
not be malicious. It is for the accused to show that these requirements are
satisfied.

Third Exception- Conduct of any person touching any public question.

It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion whatever respecting the
conduct of any person touching any public question, and respecting his character, so
far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further.

This exception thus has a positive as well as negative aspect. The positive aspect is
concerned with those situations wherein the exception applies, and the negative aspect
is concerned with the limitations to which the exception is subjected to.

The conduct of publicist who takes part in politics or other matters concerning the
public can be commented on in good faith.

Illustration
26
(1961) 2 Cr LJ 114
it is not defamation in A to express in good faith any opinion whatever respecting Z’s
conduct in petitioning government on a public question, in signing a requisition for a
meeting on a public question, in presiding or attending at such meeting, in forming or
joining any society which invites the public support, in voting or canvassing for a
particular candidate for any situation in the efficient discharge of the duties of which
the public is interested.

Fourth Exception- Publication of reports of proceedings of court

The fourth exception to section 499 provides that it is no defamation to publish a


substantially true report of the proceedings of a court or of the result of any such
proceedings. The explanation to the exception provides that a justice of the peace or
other officer holding an inquiry in open court, preliminary to a trial in a court of
justice, is a court within the meaning of the above exception.

In Annanda Prasad v. Manotosan Roy,27 it was held that it is not necessary under
this exception that the proceedings of the court should be published continuously. The
publication need not be true by word, but should give a substantially true account of
the proceedings. Good faith is not an ingredient of the Exception.

Fifth Exception- Merits of a case decided in court or conduct of witnesses and


others

This exception deals with comments expressed on the merits of a case which has been
already decided in a court or comment relating to the conduct of parties and witnesses
in any such case. It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion whatever
respecting.

a) The merits of any case, civil or criminal, which has been decided by a court; or

27
AIR 1953 Cal 503
b) The conduct of any person as a party, witness or an agent in any such
proceeding; or
c) The character of such person, so far as his character appears in that conduct and
no further.

Illustration-

a) A says- “I think Z’s evidence on that trial is so contradictory that he must be


stupid or dishonest”. A is within this exception if he says this is in good faith,
in as much as the opinion which he expresses respects Z’s character as it
appears in Z’s conduct as a witness, and no further.
b) But if A says-“I do not believe what Z asserted at that trial because I know him
to be a man without veracity”; A is not within this exception, in as much

(c) as the opinion which he expresses of Z’s character, is an opinion not founded
on Z’s conduct as a witness.

Sixth Exception- Merits of public performance

This exception deals with literary criticism of public performances submitted to its
judgment. It covers criticism of books published on literature, art, painting, speeches
made in public, acting, singing etc. The criticism should be fair and made in good
faith. An opinion expressed in good faith respecting the merits of any performance
which its author has submitted to the judgment of the public is exempt from criminal
liability. Review of a published work will come under this Exception.
The explanation to the exception provides that a performance may be submitted to the
judgment of the public expressly, or by acts on the part of the author which imply
such submission to the judgment of the public.

Illustrations-

a) A person, who publishes a book, submits that book to the judgment of the
public.
b) A person, who makes a speech in public, submits that speech to the judgment
of the public.
c) An actor or singer, who appears on a public stage, submits his acting or
singing in the judgment of the public.
d) A says of a book published by Z- “Z’s book is foolish; Z must be a weak man.
Z’s book is indecent; Z must be a man of impure mind”. A is within this
exception, if he says this in good faith, in as much as the opinion which he
expresses of Z respects Z’s character only so far as it appears in Z’s book, and
no further.

e) But if A says-“I am not surprised that Z’s book is foolish and indecent, for he
is a weak man and a libertine”. A is not within this exception, in as much as
the opinion which he expresses of Z’s character is an opinion not founded on
Z’s book.
In Emperor v. Abdul Wadood Ahmed,28 it was emphasised that the responsibility of
the critic of a public performance, where he seeks to rely on the responsibility of the
critic of a public performance, where he seeks to rely on the defence of fair comment
underlying this exception is to be judged by the effect which his comment is
calculated to produce, and not by his intention. The object of the sixth exception is
that the public should in its evaluation of a performance be aided by a comment on
that performance and the comment must make it clear that the judgment of the public
is sought to be added only such evidence as is supplied by the public performance.

Seventh Exception- Censure passed in good faith by person having lawful


authority over another.

This exception provides that it is not defamation of a person having over another any
authority, either conferred by law or arising out of lawful contract made with another,
to pass in good faith any censure on the conduct of that other in matters to which such
lawful authority relates. The illustration to the Exception gives six instances of
censure protected by this exception, if good faith is established. For instance the
following acts of censure fall within the purview of this exception-

I. A judge censuring the conduct of a witness, or of an officer of the court;


II. A head of a department censuring those who are under him;
III. A parent censuring his or her child in the presence of other children;
IV. A school master whose authority is derived from a parent censuring a pupil in
the presence of other pupils;

V. A master censuring a servant for remissness in service; an

VI. VI. A banker censuring the cashier of his bank for the conduct of the cashier
as such cashier.

28
(1907) 1 LR 31 Bom 293.
In Jotinder Nath Mukherji case,29 a municipal engineer reported to the municipality
as a result of an inquiry that a stock of metal was taken away by the contractor. Held,
that if the report is made in good faith, the seventh exception is to be applied.

Eighth Exception- Accusation preferred (made) in good faith to authorised


person

It is not defamation to prefer in good faith an accusation against any person to any of
those who have lawful authority over that person with respect to the subject-matter of
accusation.

An accused relying on exception 8 to section 499, IPC need not establish the truth of
his allegation. All that he needs to do is to show that there were reasonable grounds
for believing in the allegations, and that he acted on the bona fide belief that the
allegations were true.

In Ramesh Roy v. King,30 it was held that if a person signs a petition to the chairman
of Lucknow Development Authority against defective construction of houses, along
with several other residents of the locality, he can be said to have acted in good faith.

Illustration-

If A in good faith accuses Z before a Magistrate; if A in good faith complains of the


conduct of Z, a servant, to Z’s master; if A in good faith complains of the conduct of
Z, a child, to Z’s father- A is within this exception.

Ninth exception- Imputation made in good faith by person for protection of his
or other’s interest

29
AIR 1934 Pat 548
30
AIR 1952 Cal 228 (229).
It is not defamation to make an imputation on the character of another provided that
the imputation be made in good faith for the protection of the interests of the person
making it, or of any other person, or for the public good.

Ingredients-

There are two ingredients essential for applying the exception, viz:-

1. The statement must be made for protecting the interest of the maker or
recipient of the communication or for the public good, and;
2. The communication must be made in good faith.

The exception protecting the person to whom the communication is made has an
interest in protecting, the person making the accusation. The interest of the person
referred to in this exception has to be real and legitimate when communication is
made in protection of the interest of the person making it.

This exception refers to any imputation made in good faith. In determining the
question of good faith, regard should be had for the intellectual capacity of the
accused, his predilections (preferences) and the surrounding facts. The standard of
care and caution required varies with the circumstances of each case.

In Sahib Singh Mehra v. State of Uttar Pradesh,31 the appellant was prosecuted
under section 500 of the IPC for publishing an article entitled “ulta chor kotwal ko
dante” in a newspaper named “kalyug” dated September 23, 1960 published from
Aligarh.

The SC held that the impugned remarks were per se defamatory of the group of
persons referred to. There was nothing on the record to establish that the defamatory
remarks were made in good faith and after due care and attention as to their truth, nor
31
AIR 1965 SC 1451
was there anything to indicate that the statements were made for the protection of the
interest of the person making it, or of any other person, or for the public good,
attracting the provisions of Exception 3 or Exception 9 of section 499 of the IPC.

The court further said:


“the press has great power in impressing the minds of the people and it is essential
that persons responsible for publishing anything in newspapers should take good care
before publishing anything which tends to harm the reputation of a person. Reckless
comments are to be avoided. When one is proved to have made defamatory comment
with an ulterior motive and without the least justification, motivated by self interest,
he deserves a deterrent punishment.

In Harbhajan Singh v. State of Punjab, 32 the SC set aside the conviction of the
appellant, who had been prosecuted under section 500, IPC. Surinder Singh kairon,
the son of Pratap Singh Kairon, the then chief minister of the minister of the state of
Punjab, had complained that the appellant had published from Bombay, on July 23,
1957. Extracts from which were given wide publicity in a number of local, regional
and national papers were highly defamatory of Mr. Kairon.
The apex court said that, as the impugned statement was for the public good, the
appellant was entitled to claim the protection of Exception 9 to section 499 of the IPC.

In Manna v. Ram Galam,33 it was held that communication of a caste resolution


excommunicating a member of a caste, by one of the members of the caste to the
other member is covered by Exception 9 to section 499, IPC, in as much as every
member of that caste is bound in his own interest and in the interest of the caste to
publish the resolution, for saving himself and others from the defilement.

Tenth Exception- Caution intended for good of person to whom conveyed or for
public good

32
AIR 1966 SC 97
33
AIR 1950 ALL 619
It is not defamation to convey a caution, in good faith, to one person against another,
provided that such caution, be intended for the good of the person to whom it is
conveyed, or of some person in whom that person is interested, or for the public good.

Most of the recorded decisions on the tenth exception relate to caste matters, and
things done at cast meetings. They do not decide any points of general importance or
juristic interest.

In Thiagaraya v. Krishnasami,34 the complainant, a Brahmin who had been out of


caste, was re-admitted by the executive committee of the caste after performing
(accepting punishment) expiatory ceremonies. This re-admission was not approved by
the accused, who formed a faction of the class; and they after an interval of six
months, distributed in the bazaar to all classes of the public, printed papers in which
the complainant was described as a “doshi” or sinner, which signified that he was a
person unfit to be associated with. Held, the accused had not under the circumstances
acted in good faith, and that the publication was not under the circumstances
privileged and protected by the sec 499 Exception 10 of the penal code and that the
accused were accordingly guilty of defamation.

Sec-500. Punishment for defamation- whoever defames another shall be


punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years,
or with fine, or with both.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

34
1892 ILR 15 Mad 214
 Tort 10th edition by W.V.H Rogers (1984)

 Smith and Hogan Criminal law, 6th edn,(1988)

 K.D.Gaur, A textbook on the I.P.C (1998)

 K.D.Gaur, Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (1999)