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Filing Defamation Case All that you need to know

Defamation means an act of harming anyone’s reputation. As per Article 19(2) of Indian Constitution, Defamation is defined as  ‘ the publication of a statement which reflects on a person’s reputation and tends to lower him/her in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally or tends to make them shun or avoid him/her.’

Also Read- Criminal Defamation in India

Defamation Lawyer in Chandigarh Panchkula Mohali

TYPES OF DEFAMATION

LIBEL:- It means publicizing of fictitious or non-truthful statement that has the capacity to harm the repute of an individual without any relevance or excuse. It can be various forms such as prints, cartoons, pictures, waxwork, sculptures or effigies etc.

SLANDER :- It means any defamatory or fictitious remark made orally or via spoken words with an intention to damage the reputation of someone. It also includes gestures, sign language and inarticulate form of expressions such as winking, booing or any transient way of injuring the reputation.

Also Read- Document Based Allegation is not Defamation

CIVIL AND CRIMINAL DEFAMATION

Defamation in India is both a civil and a criminal offence. In Civil Law, defamation falls under the Law of Torts, which impose punishment in the form of damages awarded to the claimant. Under Criminal Law, defamation is bailable, non-congnizable and compoundable offence.

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DEFAMATION AS A CIVIL OFFENCE

The basic requirements for a successful defamations are:-

First, the presence of defamatory content is required. Defamatory content is defined as one calculated to injure the reputation of another by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule.

Second, the claimant should be identified in the defamatory statement. The content must be clearly addressing a particular person or a very small group for it to be defamation.

Third, theremust be a publication of the defamatory statement in either oral or written form. Unless the content is published – made available to someone other than the claimant, there can be no defamation.

Also Read- DEFAMATION LAWS IN INDIA

 

DEFAMATION REFER TO A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS

When a defamatory statement is made against the class of persons or group of individuals then it does not amount to defamation. Such as publication made against lawyers, doctors or any other particular class of society then no member of that group can sue unless he proves that the statement refers to him.

Also Read- KNOW ABOUT SECTION 188 IPC

INTENTION TO DEFAME

It must be noted that intention to defame is not necessary it is immaterial that the defendant does not know the facts or he believes himself to be. If the injury to the reputation is made then the defendant will be held liable. We can refer toMORRISON V RITIHIE AND CO. ,In this case,the defendants by mistake published a statement that the plaintiff had given birth to twins whereas the plaintiff was married two months back. Even though defendants were ignorant of this fact, they were held liable. But mere hasty expression spoken in anger or vulgar abuse to which no hearer would attribute any set purpose to injure the character would not be actionable.

Also Read- Defamation

DEFAMATION AS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE

According to the section 499 of IPC, 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 will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person.

Section 500, which is on punishment for defamation, reads: “Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

The basic requirements for a successful defamation suit:-

First, the complainant should be able to prove the accused intended to defame him.

Second, in the absence of intention, it must be established that the alleged offender had knowledge that the publication was likely to defame the person.

Third, normal stand of proof in criminal cases, which is to prove the offence beyond reasonable doubt, should also be placed before the court.

Also Read- How to file a defamation case

 

SOME COMMON DEFENCES TO DEFAMATION

  1. Truth for public good:- Truth is an absolute defense in civil cases. But in criminal proceedings, it must be proved that the imputation was made for public good. Notwithstanding the intention of an individual, no defamation suit holds good against him if he imputes something true.
  2. Fair Comment:- The comment must be an expression of opinion rather than assertion of fact. The comment must be fair, therefore, without malice. The matter commented upon must be of public interest.

 

This post is written by Dipti Prakash of Punjab University (2020 batch).  For more info, please dial 99888-17966.

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