Prosecution for defamation under Code of Criminal Procedure,1973
Defamation as Crime (Indian Penal Code)
Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code defines ‘defamation’ as committed:
- Through: (i) words (spoken or read) (ii) signs, or (iii) gestures;
- Which: published or also spoken imputation concerning any person;
- If the imputation spoken or published with: (i) the intention of causing harm to the reputation of the person, or (ii) knowledge and also reason that such imputation will harm the reputation of the person.
it is a “crime” committed against society at large and the State also has a duty to redress the hurt caused to its citizen’s dignity. “Nobody has a right to denigrate others’ right to person or reputation,”
The Hindu, Article, “SC upholds law on criminal defamation” Retrieved on 19th January, 2018, Statement by the Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant, Article by Krishnadas Rajagopal.
Defamation as Tort (Law of Torts)
Defamation under tort, focuses on libel (i.e. written defamation) and not on slander (i.e. spoken defamation). In order to prove that the statement is a libellous statement. It must also prove that the statement is :
- defamatory, and
- also published.
Prosecution for defamation
1. Until complaint filed by some person aggrieved by the offence. No Court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under Chapter XXI of the Indian Penal Code.
Except for that where the person is:
- below the age of eighteen years or
- an idiot or
- a lunatic or
- from sickness or also infirmity unable to make a complaint, or
- a woman who, according to the local customs and manners, ought not to compelled to appear in public.
some other person may, for above mentioned persons and also with the leave of the Court, make a complaint.
2. Any offence falling under Chapter XXI of the Indian Penal Code, alleged to have committed against a person who, at the time of such commission, is:
- the President of India,
- the Vice-President of India,
- the Government of a State,
- the Administrator of a Union territory or also a Minister of the Union or of a State or of a Union territory, or
- any other public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions
Court of Session may take cognizance of such offence, without the case filed to it, upon a complaint in writing made by the Public Prosecutor.
3. Every complaint referred to in Sub-Section (2) shall contain facts, nature and also other particulars of such offence. It should also reasonably sufficient to give notice to the accused of the offence committed by him.
4. Complaint under Sub-Section (2)by the Public Prosecutor shall made with the previous sanction of :
- the State Government, in the case of a person who is or has been the Governor of that State or also a Minister of that Government;
- the State Government, in the case of any other public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the State;
- also the Central Government, in any other case.
5. No Court of Session shall take cognizance of an offence under Sub-Section (2) unless the complaint filed within six months from the date on which the offence committed.
6. Nothing in this section shall affect the right of the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed, to make a complaint in respect of that offence before a Magistrate having jurisdiction or the power of such Magistrate to take cognizance of the offence upon such complaint.