Right to reputation is a facet of right to life of a citizen under article 21 of the constitution. A good reputation is an element of personal security and is protected by the constitution equally with the right to enjoyment of life, liberty and Property.
The black’s Law Dictionary defines defamation as “the offence of injuring a person’s character, fame, or reputation by false and malicious statements”. Defamation is the act of making untrue statements about another which damages his/her reputation. Defamation is of two kinds Libel and Slander. If the statement is made in writing and published in some permanent and visible form, then the defamation is called libel. Whereas, if the statement is made by some spoken words then the defamation is called slander.
Under the IPC, Section 499 and 500 lay down the offence of defamation.
Section 499: “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.” The definition in this section is subject to four explanations and ten exceptions which shall be discussed further.
Section 500 lays down the punishment to the person who commits the offence of 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.”
There are certain Exceptions Provided in Section 499-
- Truth for Public Good
- Fair Criticism of Public Servants
- Fair comment on public conduct of public men other than public servants
- Report of proceedings of Courts of justice
- Comment on Cases by the court of justice
- Literary criticism
- Statements made by an authority in good faith
- Complaint to Authority
- Imputation for Protection of Interests
- Caution in Good Faith
Elements of defamation under Indian Law:
- The statement made must be defamatory in nature.
- The statement must concern the person filing the suit for defamation, i.e. the plaintiff.
- The defamatory statement must be published.
- The statement made must be false.
Defenses available under defamation-
- Justification of truth
- Fair and bonafide comment
- Privileged statements
In the case of D.P. Choudhary v. Kumari Manjulata, a local daily Dainik Navjyoti published an article that the plaintiff, a girl of about 17 years of age, had run away with a boy named Kamlesh. This was a false news item as she had gone to attend night classes for her B.A. degree. This news item was negligently published by the newspaper and caused a lot of ridicule at the girl. Hence, she filed a suit for defamation and was entitled to damages.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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