Right to sue for defamation:
Every man has an absolute right to have his reputation preserved inviolate. The right of reputation is acknowledged as an inherent personal right of every person. It is a jus in rem, a right absolute and good against all the world.
Good name and Great riches:
No more poetic fancy suggested the truth that a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. Indeed, If we reflect on the degree of suffering occasioned by loss of character, and compare it with that occasioned by loss of property, the amount of former injury far exceed that of the latter.
A defamation statement calculated to expose a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to injure him without lawful jurisdiction or excuse.
The statement may be in writing, printing, or signs, pictures, etc.
Defamation includes two factor which is liable and Slander:
A libel is a publication of false and defamatory statement rending to injure the reputation of another person.
A slander is a false and defamatory verbal statement tending to injure the reputation of another person.
What is the limitation to file a suit for defamation?
In suit for damages against malicious prosecution, residuary Art, 120 Limitation Act would applicable under which period of limitation was six years from the date of accrual of cause of action.
Suit having been filed within six years was thus within time.
To prove the libel:
In order to found an action for libel it must prove that the statement complained of is:
- In writing
- Defamatory ; and
The falsity of charged is presumed in the plaintiff’s favour. The burden of proof that the words are false and does not lie upon the plaintiff.
Defamation of a person is taken to be false until it is proved to be one need inquire further.
E:g a scandulous picture. Defamation through the agency of mechanically reproduced pictures and words for example a talking cinematograph film—constitutes a libel
Any words will be deemed defamatory which expose the plaintiff to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy; or tend to injure him in his profession or trade; or cause him to be shunned or avoided by his neighbours.
The most important view and the test applied by a judge in deciding whether or not words were capable of a defamatory meaning is whether a reasonable jury would be justified in finding that the words complained of were defamatory.
Damages – Suit for damages on account of alleged defamation:
Plaintiff died during the pendency of suit. Cause of action whether has survive to legal representative of deceased plaintiff. Cause of action in suit for damages would not survive death of plaintiff and would abate. Suit for damages on account of alleged defamation was dismissed on account of death of plaintiff in circumstances.
Defamation in case of company or corporation:
In the case of a company or a trading corporation, words calculated to reflect upon it in the way of its property of trade or business, and to inquire it there in, are actionable without proof of special damage. But if they refer only to the personal character or reputation of its officers, then proof of special damage is necessary.
An action of slander may be maintained without proof of special damage in the following cases:
If a criminal offence (not necessarily an indicatable offence) be imputed to the plaintiff.
If a contagious or infectious disorder, tending to exclude the plaintiff from society, be imputed to him.
I f any injurious imputation be made, affecting the plaintiff in his office, profession, trade or business, and the imputation imputes to him unfitness for, or misconduct in, that calling.
Spoken words are actionable, If they impute a crime, that is to say words, which, in the opinion of the tribunal which ultimately deals with the matter, appear to have been not necessarily intended by the hearers as imputing a crime but are capable of being understood by the misdemeanour must be one for which corporal punishment.
Imputing unchastity to a woman:
An imputing of unchastity to a woman is actionable under the slander women act, 1891 without proof of special damage.
An allegation that a woman is a ‘lesbian’ is an imputation of unchastity within the meaning of the act.
A fair and bona fide comment:
A fair and bona fide comment on a matter of public interest is no libel.
Matter of Public interest are:
- Affairs of state
- The administration of justice
- Public institutions and local authorities
- Ecclesiastical matters
- Books, pictures and works of art.
- Theatres, concerts and other public entertainments.
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