26 May, 2020
8 Min Read
Batting for free speech: On filing of defamation cases against press
Set of principles to file defamation
Section 499 of IPC
A recent judgment by Justice G.R. Swaminathan enunciated what is known in the United States as the ‘Sullivan’ rule of ‘actual malice’.
Actual malice is the legal standard established by the Supreme Court of USA for libel cases (defamation cases) to determine when public officials or public figures may recover damages in lawsuits against the news media.
Public officials cannot win libel (defemation) cases without proof of actual malice
While quashing a private complaint against a journalist and a newspaper, the judge said two of the exceptions to defamation given in Section 499 pertained to ‘public conduct of public servants’ and ‘conduct of any person on any public question’.
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