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Home > Indian Bare Acts > >
INDIAN BARE ACTS
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Title : THE INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860

Year : 1860

Act : CHAPTER XXI


OF DEFAMATION


CHAPTER XXI

OF DEFAMATION


499.

Defamation.


499. Defamation.--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.

Explanation 1.-It may amount to defamation to impute anything to
a deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of that
person if living, and is intended to be hurtful to the fellings of his
family or other near relatives.

Explanation 2.-It may amount to defamation to make an imputation
concerning a company or an association or collection of persons as
such.

Explanation 3.-An imputation in the form of an alternative or
expressed ironically, may amount to defamation.

Explanation 4.-No imputation is said to harm a persons
reputation, unless that imputation directly or indirectly, in the
estimation of others, lowers the moral or intellectual character of
that person, or lowers the character of that person in respect of his
caste or of his calling, or lowers the credit of that person, or
causes it to be believed that the body of that person is in a lothsome
state, or in a state generally considered as disgraceful.

Illustrations

(a) A says-"Z is an honest man; he never stole Bs watch",
intending to cause it to be believed that Z did steal Bs watch. This
is defamation, unless it fall within one of the exceptions.

(b) A is asked who stole Bs watch. A points to Z, intending to
cause it to be believed that Z stole Bs watch. This is defamation,
unless it fall within one of the exceptions.

(c) A draws a picture of Z running away with Bs watch,
intending it to be believed that Z stole Bs watch. This is
defamation, unless it fall within one of the exceptions.

First Exception.-Imputation of truth which public good requires
to be made or published.- It is not defamation to impute anything
which is true concerning any person, if it be for the public good that
the imputation should be made or published. Whether or not it is for
the public good is a question of fact.

213.
Second Exception.-Public conduct of public servants.-It is not
defamation to express in good faith any opinion whatever respecting
the conduct of a public servant in the discharge of his public
functions, or respecting his character, so far as his character
appears in that conduct, and no further.

Third Exception.-Conduct of any person touching any public
question. -It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion
whatever respecting the conduct of any person touching any public
question, and respecting his character, so far as his character
appears in that conduct, and no further.

Illustration

It is not defamation in A to express in good faith any opinion
whatever resepting Zs conduct in petitioning Government on a public
question, in signing a requisition for a meeting on a public question,
in presiding or attending at such meeting, in forming or joining any
society which invites the public support, in voting or canvassing for
a particular candidate for any situation in the efficient discharge of
the duties of which the public is interested.

Fourth Exception.-Publication of reports of proceedings of
courts- It is not defamation to publish a substantially true report of
the proceedings of a Court of Justice, or of the result of any such
proceedings.

Explanation.-A Justice of the Peace or other officer holding an
enquiry in open Court preliminary to a trial in a Court of Justice, is
a Court within the meaning of the above section.

Fifth Exception.-Merits of case decided in Court or conduct of
witnesses and others concerned. It is not defamation to express in
good faith any opinion whatever respecting the merits of any case,
civil or criminal, which has been decided by a Court of Justice, or
respecting the conduct of any person as a party, witness or agent, in
any such case, or respecting the character of such person, as far as
his character appears in that conduct, and no further.

Illustrations

(a) A says-"I think Zs evidence on that trial is so
contradictory that he must be stupid or dishonest." A is within this
exception if he says this in good faith, inasmuch as the opinion which
he expresses respects Zs character as it appears in Zs conduct as a
witness, and no farther.

(b) But if A says-"I do not believe what Z asserted at that trial
because I know him to be a man without veracity"; A is not within this
exception, inasmuch as the opinion which expresses of Zs character,
is an opinion not founded on Zs conduct as a witness.

Sixth Exception.-Merits of public performance.-It is not
defamation to express in good faith any opinion respecting the merits
of any performance which its author has submitted to the judgment of
the public, or respecting the character of the author so far as his
character appears in such performance, and no farther.

Explanation.-A performance may be submitted to the judgment of
the public expressly or by acts on the part of the author which imply
such submission to the judgment of the public.

Illustrations

(a) A person who publishes a book, submits that book to the
judgment of the public.

(b) A person who makes a speech in public, submits that speech to
the judgment of the public.

(c) An actor or singer who appears on a public stage, submits his
acting or singing to the judgment of the public.

214.
(d) A says of a book published by Z-"Zs book is foolish; Z must
be a weak man. Zs book is indecent; Z must be a man of impure mind."
A is within the exception, if he says this in good faith, inasmuch as
the opinion which he expresses of Z respects Zs character only so far
as it appears in Zs book, and no further.

(e) But if A says-"I am not surprised that Zs book is foolish
and indecent, for he is a weak man and a libertine." A is not within
this exception, inasmuch as the opinion which he expresses of Zs
character is an opinion not founded on Zs book.

Seventh Exception.-Censure passed in good faith by person having
lawful authority over another.-It is not defamation in a person having
over another any authority, either conferred by law or arising out of
a lawful contract made with that other, to pass in good faith any
censure on the conduct of that other in matters to which such lawful
authority relates.

Illustration

A Judge censuring in good faith the conduct of a witness, or of
an officer of the Court; a head of a department censuring in good
faith those who are under his orders; a parent censuring in good faith
a child in the presence of other children; a schoolmaster, whose
authority is derived FROM a parent, censuring in good faith a pupil in
the presence of other pupils; a master censuring a servant in good
faith for remissness in service; a banker censuring in good faith the
cashier of his bank for the conduct of such cashier as such cashier-
are within this exception.

Eighth Exception.-Accusation preferred in good faith to
authorised person.-It is not defamation to prefer in good faith an
accusation against any person to any of those who have lawful
authority over that person with respect to the subject-matter of
accusation.

Illustration

If A in good faith accuses Z before a Magistrate; if A in good
faith complains of the conduct of Z, a servant, to Zs master;if A in
good faith complains of the conduct of Z, a child, to Zs father-A is
within this exception.

Ninth Exception.-Imputation made in good faith by person for
protection of his or others interests.-It is not defamation to make
an imputation on the character of another provided that the imputation
be made in good faith for the protection of the interest of the person
making it, or of any other person, or for the public good.

Illustrations

(a) A, a shopkeeper, says to B, who manages his business-"Sell
nothing to Z unless he pays you ready money, for I have no opinion of
his honesty." A is within the exception, if he has made this
imputation on Z in good faith for the protection of his own interests.

(b) A, a Magistrate, in making a report to his own superior
officer, casts an imputation on the character of Z. Here, if the
imputation is made in good faith, and for the public good, A is within
the exception.

Tenth Exception.-Caution intended for good of person to whom
conveyed or for public good.- It is not defamation to convey a
caution, in good faith, to one person against another, provided that
such caution be intended for the good of the person to whom it is
conveyed, or of some person in whom that person is interested, or for
the public good.

215.

500.


Punishment for defamation.


500. Punishment for 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.


501.
Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory.


501. Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory.--
Whoever prints or engraves any matter, knowing or HAVING good reason
to believe that such matter is defamatory of any person, shall be
punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two
years, or with fine, or with both.


502.

Sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter.


502. Sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory
matter.--Whoever sells or offers for sale any printed or engraved
substance containing defamatory matter, knowing that it contains such
matter, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which
may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.




Last updated on February, 2008
 
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