1. The convictions and sentences in this application must be set aside.
2. The facts found by the trial Magistrate are : The accused having suspected that the complainants were given to drinking liquor made an application to the caste calling for an enquiry into their conduct. As members of the caste they had every right to do it, so long as they acted in good faith, with due care and attention, and for the protection of the interests of the caste.
3. The learned Magistrate has found that the conduct of the complainants warranted the suspicion entertained by the accused but he thinks that because the allegations in their application to the caste were libellous, therefore, it was not a privileged communication.
4. But a privileged communication means a communication which is made by a member of a caste to the other members inviting an inquiry into the conduct of persons against whom the allegations are directed.
5. In this case it is not pretended that the libel was communicated to anybody beyond the caste but all that the accused did was to complain to the caste which had jurisdiction to enquire into the complaint.
6. On the ground that the alleged libel was a privileged communication and was protected by the exception to Section 499 of the Indian penal Code the rule must be made absolute and the convictions and sentences set inside and the lines, if paid, should be refunded.