A says to his friend B while they are alone – “You are the most corrupt man I have ever seen”. Does the statement of A to B amount A to defamation? Give reasons and also refer to case law, if any, on the point.

By | September 1, 2021
IPC Mains Questions Series Part

Question: A says to his friend B while they are alone – “You are the most corrupt man I have ever seen”. Does the statement of A to B amount to A to defamation? Give reasons and also refer to case law, if any, on the point.

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [A says to his friend B while they are alone – “You are the most corrupt man I have ever seen”. Does the statement of A to B amount A to defamation? Give reasons and also refer to case law, if any, on the point.]

Answer

Section 499 reads Defamation 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, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person.

The following are the essential ingredients of the offence:

  1. The making or publishing of an imputation concerning any person;
  2. The means of such imputation are words, writing, signs, or visible representations;
  3. Such imputation must have been made with the intention of harming the reputation of the person about whom the imputation is published.

The publication is one of the most essential ingredients in defamation, as it is because of publication that others get to hear or come to know about the allegedly defamatory imputations. Thus, A’s communication of defamatory matter about B, directly to B will not be publication.

On the other hand, when A says something or writes something disparaging about the character of B to C. A has published something defamatory of B to C, for which A is guilty both in civil and criminal law.

Reputation refers to the opinion that others have of a person. The following illustration clarifies the relations between publication and reputation.

When A has directly abused B as an unreliable and dishonest man on his face or has directly written a letter to B containing those defamatory expressions about B, A is not guilty of defamation for there has not been any publication to a third person, which may lower the estimation of B’s character.

Hearing these abusive words or reading that defamatory letter about himself, by B, may lower his self-esteem in his mind. But that may not have affected his reputation. The reputation of B is what C and others think of B.

Therefore, in the present case when A says to his friend B while they are alone – “You are the most corrupt man I have ever seen”, the statement of A to B does not amount to defamation.


Important Mains Questions Series  for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

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