Imputations or words set out in complaint will constitute the foundation of defamation. : Tripura High Court

In a case of defamation, the complaint is the only document that contains the accusation of offences. By issuing the proceedings to the accused, the charge relating to the imputation with defamation mentioned in the complaint is to be answered. That is, the charge referring to the charge alone is a cause for action. Furthermore, the complainant only needs to provide evidence in support of these accusations. Thus, the defendant can only answer the accusations and define his defence, as regards the charge he has made against him. He has the right to know what the charges are against him, this was referred by Justice Arindam Lodh from the Tripura High Court in the matter of Sri Subal Kumar Day versus Sri Gora Chakraborty [CRL REV. P NO.02 OF 2018]

The order was passed for the facts briefly stated, the full-time Communist Party activist of India (CPI), Sri Gora Chakraborty, being secretary of the Bishalgarh Subdivision Committee, filed a complaint claiming he was defamed by a few news items published in Syandan Patrika.

The petitioner is the editor, printer and editor of the publication concerned. After examining the plaintiff under Section 200 Cr.P.C., the petition for complaint was filed and then recorded. After the convocation was received, the petitioner appeared before the SDJM, Bishalgarh. According to Section 500/0501 IPC, the petitioner was charged with pleading not guilty and claiming to be tried. The complainant was indicted. The plaintiff brought 8 witnesses, including himself, during the trial. In the absence of evidence, the petitioner was accused. The petitioner was examined under section 313 Cr.P.C., in which the petitioner pleaded for his innocence and denied any evidence on his behalf. After the proceedings were closed the petitioner was investigated.

After the learned counsel and the evidence had been recorded, the learned trial court convicted the accused petitioner and sentenced him to be forested. The defendant’s appeal to the Court of Learned Sessions Judge, West Tripura, Agartala, was aggrieved and preferential. Following hearings, the learned Sessions Judge reaffirmed and upheld the ruling, conviction and sentence of the appreciated court. Therefore, through the filing of the petition for revision before the court, the accused petitioner challenged the said judgement and order of conviction and sentence.

On the other hand, Mr S. Chakraborty, the learned counsel of the plaintiff’s interlocutor, argued that the contents of the imputation published in the press do not have to be reproduced because the imputations are well established in the journal itself. Therefore, the skilled counsel for the complainant-intimate has prayed that the judgement, conviction and sentence of the following courts will be upheld.

From the case before the court of appeal, it was revealed that the complainant made no attempt to correct the defect in the complaint by including the alleged accused’s accusation in his journal. Therefore, it’s believed that the accused was deprived of knowledge of the actual allegation he had received in the course of the trial.

Another remarkable feature is that none of the witnesses in the complainant’s statement that imputation in the publication had directly or indirectly affected the complainant’s reputation as a plaintiff and had reduced the complainant’s moral or intellectual character with regard to his or her political activity. The witnesses only stated that the news items were false and only published in order to disapprove the plaintiff. In view of Explanation (4) of Section 499 of the IPC, this kind of evidence should be taken into account. More so, simply stating that the plaintiff gave political support to someone who encouraged the individual to participate in immoral activities does not fall under the scope and scope of Section 499 IPC because such a statement is not, by any kind of imagination as envisaged under Section 499 of IPC, defamatory or derogatory.

Consequently, in the case, No Criminal Appeal 39 of 2014, which confirmed that the judgement and order of 17 May 2014 of the learned SDJM, Bishalgarh, Sephahijala were revoked and quashed, the judgement of the learned SDJM, Western Tripura, Agartala was passed by the learned SDJM, in the case No CR08 of 2009. 

As a result, the request for immediate criminal review is allowed and therefore disposed of.

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