Defamation Law


May 17, 2023, 1:58 pm | Updated June 1, 2023, 11:50 am IST
Defamation Law
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Introduction

Defamation laws have existed in India since the 19th century.  In India, the Defamation Law was first developed by Lord Macaulay in 1837. During British rule, the sole purpose of making slander a crime was to safeguard the interests of the ruling class. The Rajiv Gandhi administration, however, approved a measure following independence that expanded the definition of "defamation" and shifted the burden of evidence from the accuser to the victim. As a result, the administration had to rescind the bill due to a widespread strike. You may find out everything you need to know about India's defamation law in the sections below. However, it is always advisable to contact a lawyer to consult for such issues. For example, if you are in Kolkata, contact a criminal lawyer in Kolkata to handle defamation issues.

 

What Is Defamation?

The act of spreading untrue information about someone that harms his/herreputation in the view of the average person is known as defamation. Defamation is defined as any false and untrue comment that is published or spoken with the goal to harm someone's reputation. Damage to a man's reputation is considered to be property damage, which is illegal. Depending on the situation, it might be spoken or written. Speaking lies is known as slander, while writing, typed, or printed defamation is known as libel.

 

Defamation Law in India

The Constitution of India states that there are some logical limitations on the fundamental right to free speech. Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines these limitations known as defamation. The ten legal exclusions set forth in Section 499, however, mean that no utterance, whether spoken or written, would be regarded as defamatory. Defamation is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both. It is a non-cognizable, compoundable offence that is subject to bail.

According to Sections 499, 500, 501, and 502 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the three primary offences are as follows:

  • Making or publishing an impugned statement
  • Imputation methods
  • the intent to damage one's reputation

The following explanations are made clear by Section 499 as to what constitutes defamation:

  • Discrediting the deceased
  • Defamation of a group of people or a company
  • Defamation by implication
  • What is a bad reputation?

 

What are the Essentials for Defamation?

Defamation as a tort generally entails these four elements. These consist of:

  1. A defamatory statement is required.
  2. Righteous or reasonable people must interpret the defamatory statement as referring to the plaintiff.
  3. The defamatory statement must be made public, or communicated to someone other than the plaintiff, in order to be considered true.
  4. Slander must either fall under the serious categories of circumstances in which it is liable per se or there must be evidence of exceptional damages.

 

What are the Exceptions to Defamation?

The following are the three exceptions to Defamation;

Imputation of truth that must be made or disseminated for the benefit of the public

When something truthful about a person is implied or published for the benefit of the public, it does not constitute defamation. Whether it serves the common good or not is a matter of fact.

The Conduct of Public Servants

It is not considered defamation to make comments in good faith about how a public worker behaves while performing their duties or about their character to the extent that it is reflected in such behaviour.

Any person's conduct when dealing with a public issue

It is not considered defamation to express, in good faith, any view regarding any individual's behaviour in relation to any public issue or regarding his character, but only to the extent that it is revealed in such behaviour.

 

What are the Punishments for Defamation?

Sections 500, 501, and 502 of the Indian Penal Code govern the sanctions for defamation. If found guilty, a person may face a sentence of up to two years in prison, a fine, or both. The following transgression is punishable:

  • Selling anything that has been etched or printed and has a false statement.
  • Printing or engraving of something that is defamatory
  • Libel against any third party

 

Conclusion

Reputation is a man's greatest asset. Any harm to this asset has legal repercussions. According to section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, defamation is punishable by a simple sentence of no more than two years' incarceration, a fine, or both.We have rights under the Indian Constitution, but we must not interfere with others when we exercise those rights. When it comes to defamation, freedom of speech has its limits.

 

FAQS

  • What is defamation law in India?
    The act of spreading untrue information about someone that harms their reputation in the view of the average person is known as defamation.

  • What is the IPC 499 for defamation?
    The Constitution of India states that there are some logical limitations on the fundamental right to free speech. Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines these limitations known as defamation.

  • What is IPC 500 for defamation?
    According to section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, defamation is punishable by a simple sentence of no more than two years' incarceration, a fine, or both.
Written By:
Vidhikarya

Vidhikarya


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