According to the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, a true news report on the details of an FIR is not defamatory, and taking legal action against the reporter in this situation is nothing more than an effort to restrain the reporter and force him to retract the article through Justice Vinay Joshi in the case of Vijay and ors v Ravindra Ghisulal Gupta (CRIMINAL APPLICATION NO. 393 OF 2022 )
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The brief facts of the case are that Ravindra Gupta, the complainant, claimed that an item against him that was published in the Lokmat was untrue and that the newspaper had not verified it. Gupta asserted that he was not there at the scene of the alleged incident, and as a result, his name was removed from the charge sheet.
The non-applicant (complainant), feeling hurt by such publishing, has filed a defamation complaint. The complaint contends that despite the applicants bearing responsibility for the media articles, they disseminated the pertinent material without confirming its veracity and must be punished criminally under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code,1860.
The court ruled that it is glaringly evident that neither an accusation of knowledge of the dissemination of such an imputation nor of direct responsibility for its publication has been made against the present applicants. The Chairman is expected to have broad authority over the organization’s management. He has no direct involvement in the news stories’ publishing, hence he cannot be charged with the offence described in section 499 of the IPC unless there are materials to support that claim.
In the lack of a statutory provision, the Chairman cannot be held vicariously accountable for the offence committed by the employees because the principle of vicarious liability does not apply to criminal offences. No criminal case can be brought against the accused just because he also happened to be the Chairman of the Lokmat organisation for an offence covered by Section 500 of the IPC.
The bench also observed that defamation action about true and faithful reporting is unhealthy for a democratic setup.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY