Supreme Court upholds constitutional validity of penal laws on criminal defamation

NEW DELHI(PTI): In a landmark judgement with widespread ramifications, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the constitutional validity of penal laws of defamation.

So in essence a person can still be jailed if it is proved that his/her words or actions were defamatory. It has dismissed a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 of the IPC providing for criminal defamation

SC in its verdict said, “Mutual respect to each other is required to maintain the constitutional value that ensure the dignity of any individual”. Even though the apex court upheld the provisions it said that magistrate has to be extremely careful while issuing summons under law.

Among the petitioners were eminent politicians like Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy.

Deciding pleas of Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal,Subramanian Swamy and others, SC says it will be open to them to move HC against summons issued in defamation cases. SC also said, ” Till they move HC within 8 weeks, interim protection to continue and criminal proceedings to remain stayed before trial court”.

The petitioners earlier had argued that the criminal defamation under these sections of the IPC travelled beyond constitution’s article 19(2) that imposes reasonable restriction on the freedom of speech and expression. The verdict was reserved on August 13 last year after bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant heard the matter spread over a month.

Swamy and Gandhi have been charged with criminal defamation under Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC for their political speeches made in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively, while Kejriwal is facing cases under the same provisions lodged by BJP’s Nitin Gadkari and others.

Posted by on May 13, 2016. Filed under Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.