Defamation as an offence

Introduction

Every person has a prima facie duty not to injure any person’s reputation. Because every person have some valuable reputation in the eyes of others . It is the duty of every person to protect other one’s reputation and not to injure ,if anyone found responsible for the offences relating to defamation than he/ she will be punishable under the Indian laws.

Definition of Defamation

When any person either spoken or read ,or make any false statements through some expressions or published any statement with the intention of injuring some other person’s reputation is known as defamation.

Under the section 499 of IPC defamation is considered as an offence and person guilty under this offence is punishable by this code .

Types of defamation

Basically there are two types of defamation which are given below-

a) Libel

b) Slander

a) Libel

#when any statement is in published form and is written then is considered as libel.

# It is also addressed to the eyes because it is in written and published form.

# Libel is permanent in nature one can clearly identify it through writing, printing,pictures etc .

#It is considered as a criminal offence and also comes under the law of torts.

b) Slander

# when any statement is spoken by the person relating it to some other person then it is known as libel.

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# it is also addressed to ears because it is spoken by the person.

# it is not permanent form but one can clearly identify it through words, gestures,etc.

# except certain cases ,it is not consider as the criminal offence.

Essential elements for defamation

There are three Essential elements for considering the offence of defamation.

a) To harm the reputation of any person words must be either published or spoken.

b) Statement is made by words, gestures,signs, published form.

c) Intention to harm the reputation of other person.

a) Making and publishing any statement

Person who makes or published any false information relating to some other person with the intention of injuring the reputation of that person in the eyes of others. And whoever involves in making and publishing any statement will be held guilty for the offence of defamation

To consider defamation as a offence it’s publication is necessary through different modes.

Case- Thiagaraya V. krishnaswami(1892)- It was held that if any defamatory statement was sent via letter ,or in the printed letter then it must consider as a offence if that printed statement will distribute or broadcast and reach to other person’s of the society.

b) Statements made through words, gestures,signs etc.

If any statement is made by words either spoken or intended to be read by other persons or through gestures , signs which can be visible representations it is a offence under the Indian laws. This concept is however differ from the view point of English law.

In English law only printing, writing , published form is considered as a crime.

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But according to Indian laws both libel and slander can consider as a offence which can be decided according to the cases.

c) Intention to harm the reputation of other person

To consider defamation as an offence there must be intention of person to harm the reputation of other person. If the accused person have knowledge that his words or article will constitute any harm to the reputation of any person than the accused will be held liable.

Punishment for defamation

Under the section 500 of Indian penal code whoever founds guilty for the offence of defamation then he will be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may further extend to two years , with fine or with both (imprisonment and fine).

Cases- Rekhabai v. Dattatraya (1986)

In this case it was held that when the defamation is committed thorough a letter then the suit can be filed and tried at that place where the letter was written and posted and when it will reach to the other person and read by them.

Conclusion

Defamation was considered as an offence and defamation in any form or through any means of communication person responsible for doing this unlawful act will be made liable and hence he will be punished under the IPC. As the constitution of India gave fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression this right doesn’t mean that we will violate our duty and hence made the statements and publications which will harm the any person reputation in the eyes of others. Everyone have a duty not to make false statements with the intention of defaming others.

Author: Taneesha Chauhan,
Invertis University/ student

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