Defamation meaning in Law of Tort India, Intro: Defamation is a civil and criminal offence act. The aim of the law on defamation is to maintain the law of reputation and the balance of freedom of expression.
Defamation is an injury to a person’s name, in the case: – Dixon v. Holden, (1869). When a person injures another’s reputation, he is at his own risk, such as in the case of interference with property. The reputation of a person is his or her asset and is more valuable if possible than other assets.
In english law, there are two types of Defamation:
Defamation in a permanent form in writing, usually addressed to the eye, is automatic, i.e. it shall not be compulsory to allege or to prove special damage through printed image and film etc.
This is defamation, usually addressed to the ear, in a verbal, tentative form. By words or by actions. It is not self-judicial, that is to say it is not self-judicial, i.e. it should be alleged and proved damage.
In Indian Law:
Criminal and civil action against defamation may be taken in India, Sec 499, the I.P.C define defamation as the release of false statements intentioned, whereas liability for wrongful defamation does not depend on the defamation defamer’s motive or malice.
Defamation requisition: the plaintiff has to prove the inappropriate development.
(A). Defamatory Statement
A statement is misleading if the reputation or dignity of a person is likely to be harmed. This kind of statement tends to decrease one’s good opinion and to make another look at him feeling hateful, contemptuous, ludicrous, fearful or unpleasant in his profession or business.
Case: -g. Sreedharmarthy v. Bellary municipal council(b.m.c), a.i.r 1982
When a council maliciously issued a notice without justification and a warrant was notified and furniture and the books of an exercise counsel were seized, the conduct of the council was defamation.
(B). The statement or allegation should refer to the plaintiff
The plaintiff should prove that the statement refers to him in any defamation action. The plaintiff was a practitioner and also an income tax and wealth taxpayer in Sredharmurthy vs. Bellary Municipal Council(B.M.C). Out of malice and unwillingness the municipal council served a distracted order and confiscated the books and furnishings of the plaintiff. In such a case, considerable damages were to be granted, even if no damages were caused.
(C). Statement should be published
It is essential to publish defamation. There will be no damage to reputation or action if no publication is made. The term published means in general to make public thinking, but here it means to communicate to someone else than the plaintiff itself.
Defenses in a Defamation Case
these are the defenses generally used after a defamation action-
(A) Justification of Truth
Justification of truth is a defence in its entirety in the truth of a defamatory statement. The defendant shall not prove that every word in the statement of defamation applies. If the statement is not totally true, then it will be enough.
(B) Fair & bona-fide comment
Each person has the right in public interest to express an opinion is a good defence in defamation proceedings.
(C) Privileged Statement
There are occasions that are so important that those who say they cannot be blamed for defamation, even if their statement is untrue and even malicious. The favorite is two-species:-
(i) Absolute or Privileged:
A statement obtains absolute privilege when no action is taken despite the fact it is false, intentional or built out of defamation and malice.
A statement made by members of either parliament house on their place in the house shall not be based on any action. However, for the benefit of a third person, they may not be injurious. But it’s not something going beyond the house walls.
The publication by either House of Parliament of all reports, paper votes and proceedings is entirely a privilege.
Any declaration made by judges or parties, witnesses and lawyers in the course of the judicial proceedings, for whatever reason, is absolutely privileged.
State-related communications between one state official and another are absolutely privileged. According to the Madras Supreme Court Resolution, public policy is absolutely privileged.
(ii) Qualified Privilege:
In some circumstances, though untrue it is considered advisable that reflection on others’ reputation does not give rise to tortuous responsibility unless it is published in a malicious way. The defence of a qualified privilege against defamation may extend to a statement made in fulfillment of a duty or if it is made in self-defense or in the public interest.
The offer or the making of an excuse is not common law, but it can be shown to mitigate the damage. The excuse is valid only if the defamed person has accepted the apology.
Defamation of a Deceased Person
When it comes to defamation, tort law distinguishes between dead and living people. While we have seen the various circumstances in which a statement made about a living person could be defamatory, defaming the dead is not a crime. In this regard, however, a criminal prosecution is completely separate from the civil remedy. Although defaming a deceased person may not be actionable in tort, if it would have amounted to defamation if the deceased were alive and it hurts the feelings of his living relatives, a criminal prosecution would be justified.
Defamatory statement from husband to wife
or vise versa constitutes defamation:
The husband and wife are legally considered to be like a man, so the husband’s statement to his wife is derogatory or, on the contrary, will not be defamed, but it would be defamation if the defamatory declaration were published or written down.
In addition, communication between a husband and a wife is not publication. Example: A reports to his wife B that X is a dishonest person and nobody else knows. Then X could not sue a libel he did not publish for defamation. The wife can also make her husband a defamatory/derogatory statement safely. However, if the defendant makes a statement to the wife or the plaintiff’s husband that he makes the other spouse’s defamatory statement, he shall publish it and be liable.