The petitioner’s newspaper not to publish anything disparaging is upheld by the Kerela High Court in the case of Dr R. Krishnamurthy v. City Public Prosecutor through Justice V. Bhavani Subbaroyan.
FACTS OF THE CASE
In this case, the petitioner’s newspaper was expected to show respect for and address the leaders of the country or state appropriately when writing and publishing topics pertaining to them.
The petitioner engaged in making outrageous accusations against the then Chief Minister, according to the government’s legal representative, which damaged her reputation in the eyes of the general public. A petition was filed right away to stop the legal action taken against the petitioners for committing a crime covered by Sections 500 and 501 of the Penal Code of 1860.
The petitioner’s attorney argued that even if the complaints’ claims were taken at face value, they would not constitute defamatory claims regarding the actions or conduct of the then chief minister while performing her public duties and, at best, could only be considered personal defamation.
As a result, the attorney claimed that the case does not meet the standards of Section 199 (2) CrPC and cannot be maintained by the City Public Prosecutor.
It was added to the aforementioned argument that petitioners could not level slanderous claims against the previous Chief Minister in the name of press freedom.
According to the bench, Section 199(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) establishes a particular procedure for the beginning of legal action for defamation of a public official.
If the defamatory comment is of a personal nature, this particular method will not be applicable, and the complaining party must act solely on his or her own own. The claims on which the criminal complaint was based, in the judgement of the Court, had absolutely nothing to do with how the aggrieved person acted while performing her public duty. Only personal defamation can be used to describe the aforementioned charge.
As a result, the Court held that the aforementioned complaint cannot be upheld because it did not adhere to the provisions of Section 199(2) of the CrPC.
In light of the aforementioned discussion, the High Court halted the proceedings.
After the case was over, it was ordered that the petitioner’s newspaper not publish anything disparaging.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL