The article 'Comparative analysis between Cyber Defamation and Physical Defamation' by Nischay Purohit is an extensive study about the meaning of defamation, its types, and distinctive points on Cyber and Physical defamation. The article also briefly deals with what constitutes defamation. The author describes the penal provision regarding defamation in India. Even some of the important provisions of… Read More »

The article 'Comparative analysis between Cyber Defamation and Physical Defamation' by Nischay Purohit is an extensive study about the meaning of defamation, its types, and distinctive points on Cyber and Physical defamation. The article also briefly deals with what constitutes defamation. The author describes the penal provision regarding defamation in India. Even some of the important provisions of the Information Technology Act have been discussed to make the concept lucid for the readers.

The author deals with the relevant case laws with regard to the defamatory statement. The author describes technological advances have no doubt brought positive impact, but somewhere, people are misusing them also. The author ends up dealing with the rapid rise of cyber defamation in recent years along with its reason.

Introduction: Cyber Defamation and Physical Defamation

There has been a huge change in everyday lifestyle, and this is due to development and improvement in innovation. The availability of the web to people has transformed everyone. The stage given by the web has made human connection simpler than at any other time.

The Internet has made correspondence and accesses the data simply through messages, talk gatherings, different interpersonal interaction locales, and so on, wherein people can distribute and spread data. Nonetheless, such expansion in the comfort of correspondence has relatively expanded the bother brought about by the maltreatment of the mechanisms of correspondence, the principal reason for expanding such abuse is that users don't need to uncover their actual character to send an email or post messages on release sheets.

Users can impart and make such posting secretly or under expected names. Such an unnecessary and false statement about the person amounts to Cyber Defamation. Defamation implies a bogus articulation introduced as a reality that makes injury or harms the personality of the individual. It implies harming the standing of an individual before an outsider. There are two fundamental sorts of defamation: libel, composed/written defamation, and slander, otherwise called verbal slander.

Defamation has been defined under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as 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 to defame that person.

The point when an individual is condemned on the internet is known as cyber defamation or online defamation. The such possibly defamatory explanation made on the web or through web-based media – for example, by means of Facebook or LinkedIn – that includes the composed (or "posted") word is viewed as criticism.

The web and online media are without any doubt something extraordinary for individuals and society when all is said and done for improvement and development, yet they are likewise a remarkably successful favourable place for conceivably offensive articulations. Likewise, the defamation happening in person physically is known as physical defamation, it doesn't require the internet to take place, and the usual face-to-face interaction suffices.

How is Cyber Defamation different from Physical Defamation?

There are two main types of Defamation:

Libel: When the defamatory statement is published in a written form.

Slander: When the defamatory statement is published in a verbal form.

To establish defamation, publication of such defamatory statements is necessary, a mere statement does not amount to defamation.

Likewise, any such conduct occurring on the internet prompts Cyber Defamation or online Defamation. Cyber Defamation happens when a device associated with the internet is utilized as an instrument or a medium to Defame a person. For Example, Publishing a Defamatory statement on Social Media Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, or sending messages containing disparaging substance about an individual with the expectation to defame him/her.

Although the way of committing defamation in the cyber and physical world is different, the law applies in the same manner.


  1. On the author of the defamatory material online.
  2. On service provider or However, it is pertinent to note that as per Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000-

"an intermediary shall not be liable if it does not initiate or modify such defamatory content but merely acts as a facilitator".

Further, this protection is also subject to the condition that the intermediary shall comply with the due diligence and Intermediary Guidelines requirements issued by the Central Government and also, upon receiving actual knowledge, the appropriate Government or its agency or remove such unlawful content from being notified.

What constitutes online defamation?

The Internet is probably the most straightforward stage to communicate your perspectives on recent concerns. While communicating their perspectives on specific issues, mischief or harm is caused to the standing of the great character by offering bogus expressions on the internet. Criticism is commonly the structure tended to Cyber Defamation in light of the fact that the Internet basically gets similar assurances as print and distributed media. To be formed as Cyber Defamation:

  • Destitute posting of the declaration to a third party.
  • If the defamatory matter is of public concern, negligence on the part of the publisher amounts to at least.
  • Possible damages to the complainant.

Because of the worldwide organization and expansion in innovation, individuals use the internet in an unexpected way. Physical defamation differently affects the individual and online Defamation has an alternate effect since it is the internet, and the standing of the individual is hurt worldwide. The outsider in online defamation is people in general. It isn't just unsafe for the individual, the whole society is affected along these lines. In the name of the right to speak freely of discourse and articulation, individuals exploit the internet providers. Data on the web get viral in a moment or two, henceforth, it's easy to spread hatred and fake/defamatory statements.

Laws on cyber and physical defamation in India

Section 499, Indian Penal Code This section says that

"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 excepted, to defame that person".

Section 500, Indian Penal Code

This section provides for punishment. Any person held liable under section 499 will be punishable with imprisonment of two years or fine or both.

Section 469, Indian Penal Code

This section deals with forgery, if anyone creates a false document or fake account by which it harms a person's reputation. The punishment of this offence can extend up to 3 years and a fine.

Section 66A, Information Technology Act, 2000

Supreme Court struck down this law in the year 2015. This section defined punishment for sending offensive messages through a computer, mobile, or tablet. The government is not sure about the stand on the word offensive that is why they started using it as a tool to quash freedom of speech. In 2015 the Supreme Court quashed the whole section in the case of Shreya Singhal vs UNION OF INDIA.

Case Law

In its first historically speaking case on Cyber Defamation in SMC Pneumatics (India) Pvt. Ltd. v. Jogesh Kwatra[1] wherein a displeased representative sent censorious, abusive, foul, and damaging messages to the organization's individual bosses and to its auxiliaries everywhere in the world with an aim to defame the company alongside its overseeing chief, the High Court of Delhi allowed ex-parte substitute order limiting the litigant from defaming the Plaintiff in both the physical what's more, in the internet.

Further, on account of Kalandi Charan Lenka v. Territory of Odisha[2], the Petitioner was followed on the web, and a phone record was made in her name. Furthermore, foul messages were shipped off the companions by the guilty party with the goal of defaming the Petitioner. The High Court of Orissa held that the said demonstration of the blame falls under the offence of Cyber Defamation, and the charge is subject to his offences of Defamation through the methods of phone indecent pictures and messages.

For another situation, M/S Spentex Industries Ltd. and Anr. v. Pulak Chowdhary[3], the applicant had filed a petition for an obligatory and prohibitory order alongside the recuperation of Rs. 50,00,000/as compensation for loss of reputation and business because of defamatory messages sent by the litigant to the International Finance Corporation, World Bank, President of Republic of Uzbekistan and UZEREPORT (a news online interface and distributor of month-to-month news reports).

The case was recorded in the year 2006 and was finished up in 2019, wherein the Hon'ble Delhi District Court proclaimed that the Plaintiffs be granted 1/tenth of the cost (Rs. 5,00,000/ -) just as the expense of the suit to be borne by the respondents. Further, it was announced that the litigant is controlled from offering defamatory statements, regardless of whether written or oral.

Recently, on account of Swami Ramdev and Anr. v. Facebook Inc. and Ors.[4] Justice Pratibha Singh had passed a request to eliminate all defamatory content posted online against yoga master Baba Ramdev, with no regional limit, expressing that if the content is transferred from India or such content is situated in India on a PC asset, at that point the Courts in India ought to have global locale to pass overall injunctions.

Facebook has filed an appeal against the aforementioned ruling, and the Delhi High Court Division Bench has accepted it. The reason for the appeal is that, despite the fact that the plaintiff knew who posted the information, they have not been added as defendants in the lawsuit.

It has also been noted with satisfaction that Baba Ramdev hasn't presented any compelling first evidence of irreversible harm. Facebook's appeal includes a number of arguments, including the claim that the global removal order violates international law and national sovereignty by interfering with other nations' defamation laws. Furthermore, the aforementioned ruling also impairs the immunity that has been given to them in other jurisdictions.


The internet gives the opportunity for people to communicate their perspectives on the overall premise. Yet, a portion of the people abuses it by defaming the individual simply because of their own feelings of resentment or issues numerous individuals utilize the web more as a method for imparting their considerations on different issues and issues.

The utilization of online media has brought an upset in the Indian circle as well as all over the world. Government officials are utilizing these mediums to connect with the masses. Superstars, Stars are utilizing these as a medium to interface with their fans and well-wishers. Each individual should have their own cut-off points on the internet. One should hold back themselves while offering any injurious remarks and perspectives about somebody's personality. People should follow some fundamental behaviour to keep up mental stability on the internet.

The Internet is a grave spot for criticism where there is a huge transmission of data and information. Innocent individuals become the survivor of defamation, and it's about time that when we need to respond to this and make an exacting move on this. To the general public, there is no qualification on any premise, the web has given them a stage to pass on their considerations, engage in conversations, and survey an item, a film, a melody, and even an individual.

In spite of the fact that this stage has furnished us with shrewd and very much read individuals, it has likewise given us thugs who submit cyber defamation, so we must know about the thing we are posting on the web. However, physical defamation is not that feasible when compared to cyber defamation, the scope of cyber defamation has increased in recent times because of the flexibility, feasibility, and easiness of passing remarks.


[1] BLAPL No.7596 of 2016

[2] 2017 SCC OnLine Ori 52.

[3] (2019) 219/18

[4] 263 (2019) DLT 689

Updated On 23 Sep 2022 11:47 AM GMT

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