The concept of defamation can be understood as a oral or a written statement made by words or by expression which tends to damage the reputation of the other person. In the Black Law Dictionary the concept of defamation can be understood as “the offence of injuring a person character, fame, reputation by false and malicious statement”
There are basically two types of defamation one is the libel and another is slander. The statement which is written and is published is called as libel, on the other hand if the statement which brings in loss of reputation is spoken is called as slander
The libel is basally addressed to the eyes and slander is addressed to the ears. In libel the statement is made in hard and permanent form such as writing, printing , in from of pictur.es. In slander the concept is just the opposite the words are mostly spoken and in form of visible or audible form. Libel is a actionable tort and also comes in the preview of the criminal offence. On the other form the slander is the civil injury and no action can be brought against it . The tort of libel is actionable per se (that is without proof of actual damage) . On the other hand slander is actionable is only on the point that the proof of actual damage.
The Element to Prove the Tort of Defamation
(1) The Statement should be made : the very first element is that the statement must be actually made. The statement can be either in words or spoken . it can be read or can be made by visible representation.
(2) The, statement should directly refer to the person who is claiming the defamation made : The defamatory statement must be made directly to the person, class of person, A business organization, or even if not made directly should be recognized or identified that it was made to him or her
(3) The statement made must be defamatory : the statement should be in legal terms a defamatory statement. A defamatory statement tends to diminish the good opinion that others hold about the person and it has the tendency to make others look at him with a feeling of hatred, ridicule, fear or dislike.
(4) The statement should be false and hoax : The statement should be false since truth is the defense to the defamation
(5) The Statement must be published: In the Case of Mehendra Ram vs Harnandan Prasad the court made the view that the statement must be published and actual loss of reputation must be caused in order to claim defamation
The defenses available against defamation
(1) If the spoken words are truth: If the statement is true , then in that case it is a absolute defense and if the statement is true and authentic then it would amount to defamation. The burden of proof is on the defendant to prove otherwise
(2) Fair and Bonafide Comment: the statement if fair and if in the best interest of the public is not defamation.
(3) Absolute privilege: In the case of T.J Ponnen vs M. C Verghese the court held that the privileged communication between a husband and a wife is not defamation .
Further in the case of the Chatterson vs Secretary of the State the parliamentary secretary position comes under privileged communication and no action lies in the same.
The following statement are exempts from the defamatory statement
(1) during judicial proceedings,
(2) by government officials,
(3) by legislators during debates in the parliament
(4) during political speeches in the parliamentary proceedings and,
(5) communication between spouses.
The court looks into many things before deciding the amount of compensation Some of them are as follows :
(1) The conduct of the plaintiff.
(2) The absence or refusal of any retraction or apology of libel.
(3) The whole conduct of the defendant from the date of publication of libel to the date of the decree
(4) His position and standing in society.
(5) The nature of libel.
The law of defamation is used to protect persons reputation from false and fake statement which are made against them. The court looks into many things before deciding the amount of compensation Some of them are as follows ,The conduct of the plaintiff, The absence or refusal of any retraction or apology of libel., His position and standing in society and The nature of libel.
Author Details: Shubhang Gomasta (LLM student, MATS University, Raipur, Chattisgarh).