Kerala HC states that contemptuous comments which are necessary to be published do not amount to defamation

The Managing Editor, the Chief Editor and the Printer and Publisher of a daily newspaper appeared before the court to quash the proceedings initiated on the allegation of the offence under Section 500 of IPC, 1860 and Section 204 of CrPC, 1973.

It is true that they were referred to as accused persons in the news item, even before registration of crime in connection with the allegations.

A bench headed by Justice P. Somarajan observed that “contemptuous nature of news item, if it is connected with the imputation of truth, which requires publication for the public good will not attract the offence and there shall not be any misunderstanding with respect to the requirement to attract Section 499 IPC with the first exception.”

Hence, in the instant case, news item published will not attract the offence of defamation as defined under Section 499 IPC.

The court further stated that “…fourth estate is not expected to shy away from the matters governing public importance, but it is their solemn duty to serve the society with the news item with its pros and cons so as to bring the society more functional and vigil.”

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