Mahendra Singh Vs. State of U.P. and Anr.

IN Judgements Database | 04/08/2018

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD

Criminal Revision No. 762 of 1981

Decided On: 01.03.1982

Appellants: Mahendra Singh
Vs.
Respondent: State of U.P. and Anr.

 

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
V.N. Misra, J.

 

JUDGMENT

V.N. Misra, J.

 

1. This is an application in revision by Mahendra Singh against the judgment and order dated 3-6-1981 by Sri R.A. Misra, Sessions Judge, Saharanpur by means of which he dismissed Criminal Appeal No. 527 of 1980 and confirmed the judgment of Sri S.K. Raturi, Munsif Magistrate, Hardwar, convicting the applicant under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code and sentencing him to pay a fine of rupees two hundred only and to undergo simple imprisonment for three months.

2. The applicant was a resident of Nai Basti Bhim Goda, Hardwar, and was the Editor of a Hindi weekly 'Sahkarita Ka Shankh Naad'. In its issue dated 26-7-1979 a news item under the heading "Bhavi Desh Ka Nirmataon Se Bachao" was published, which contained certain defamatory imputations against Vishan Dayal. Consequently Vishan Dayal filed a complaint against the applicant under Sections 500, 501 and 502 of the Indian Penal Code in the Court of the learned Magistrate, who convicted him as aforesaid.

3. The first point raised by the learned Counsel for the applicant was that the news item published in the Hindi weekly was not defamatory because it fell under Ninth Exception of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. Ninth Exception shows that an imputation would not be defamation if it is made in good faith and for the protection of the interests of the person making it or of any other person or for the the public good. It was urged that in this case the imputation was made for public good and in good faith, therefore, it was not defamation. A judgment has been filed in which it was said that the allegation that Vishan Dayal was a gambler was not untrue and, therefore, the Editor of the paper, who published the news item that he was a Satta-king, was acquitted. It was urged that after this judgment was given, as an Editor of a news paper the applicant had a right to publish it and this would be the publication in good faith and would attract Ninth Exception of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. It is true that the judgment shows that some other Editor of a different news paper was acquitted. But in any case the applicant would have to shows on what rational basis he called Vishan Dayal a Satta-king in the article published in his Hindi weekly.

4. The relevant law on this point has been elaborated in detail by the Hon'ble the Supreme Court in Sukra Mahto v. Basudeo Kumar Mahtoo, 1973 ACC 267. While dealing with Exception Ninth to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code their Lordships said that making an imputation on simple belief or actual belief is not enough. The Appellant must show that the belief in his impugned statement had a rational basis and was not just a blind simple belief. The person alleging good faith has to establish as a fact that he made enquiry before he made the imputation and he has good reason and facts to indicate that he acted with due care and attention and was satisfied that the imputation was true.

5. In this case there was no such evidence to indicate that there was any rational basis for the applicant to call Vishan Dayal a Satta king or to say that he could be seen drinking at the road crossing any evening, nor was any evidence led to say that the applicant had made enquiry before making this imputation. It was, therefore, not established that the imputation was made in good faith and benefit under Exception Ninth cannot be given to the applicant.

6. The learned Counsel then drew my attention to the statement of the applicant under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in which he said that he had published the news item for public good. Merely saying that he had published the news item for public good would not indicate that it was really for public good and would not in any way show that it was published, in good faith.

7. In the revision before me one chargesheet against Vishan Dayal under Section 13 of the Gambling Act in Crime No. 416 of 1976 and a judgment in another case was filed. In the judgment it was stated that there were cases under the Gambling Act against Vishan Dayal, therefore, the imputation published in the news paper could not be said to be false and, therefore, the Editor of that paper was acquitted. In the judgment it was further said that two cases were pending against Vishan Dayal. There was, however, nothing to indicate that in those two cases Vishan Dayal had been convicted and the judgment of conviction in those two cases was not filed, it could not be, therefore, said, inspite of the conclusion arrived at in this judgment that Vishan Dayal was a gambler. Therefore, there was absolutely no justification for the applicant to have called him a Satta-king in the article published in his weekly. It cannot be, therefore, said that the imputation was made in good faith and he cannot be given any benefit of Ninth Exception of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code.

8. It was then contended that the imputation would also fall under First Exception because in any case there were two cases under the Gambling Act pending against Vishan Dayal at the time when this news item was published in the Hindi Weekly of the applicant. As I have already said these two cases were pending against Vishan Dayal; but no evidence was adduced to show that in those two cases Vishan Dayal was convicted. It cannot be, therefore, said that the imputation that Vishan Dayal was a Satta king was in any way true and if the imputation was not true, the applicant can get no benefit under First Exception to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code.

9. It was then said that the news item published was no defamation because Vishan Dayal had already been defamed. This can also not be accepted because those two cases under Gambling Act were brought against Vishan Dayal. It has not been shown that he was convicted in those two cases or was held to be a gambler.

He had, therefore, not lost his reputation and, therefore, the publication of this news item was defamation.

10. Since in this case good faith was not established; nor it was shown that the imputation was in any way true, therefore, the applicant cannot get benefit either under First Exception or Ninth Exception of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code and he has been rightly convicted.

11. It was lastly urged that the sentence in this case may be suitably reduced because the applicant was Editor of a weekly news paper and whatever he published was for public good. This argument is accepted and while the conviction of the applicant is maintained, his sentence is reduced to the period undergone but the sentence of fine of rupees two hundred Only under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code is also maintained as it is. In default of payment of the fine, he shall undergo simple imprisonment for a period of one month. The applicant is on bail and need not surrender. His bail bonds are hereby cancelled but his sureties shall be discharged after the realisation of the fine. With the aforesaid modifications in sentence the revision is dismissed.

 

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