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S. Bangarappa Vs. Ganesh Narayan Hegde and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Petn. No. 147 of 1984
Judge
Reported inILR1984KAR278
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 499 and 500; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 179 and 220
AppellantS. Bangarappa
RespondentGanesh Narayan Hegde and anr.
Appellant AdvocateC. Shivappa, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.H.N. Kuranga, High Court Govt. Pleader
Excerpt:
.....the courts outside bangalore, even though papers like samyukta karnataka, published in hubli have published the statement is in question. one can very well make out that the publication of the alleged statement said to be made by accused 1 in 'samyukta karnataka' paper in the early hours of 29-4-1983 was a consequence of the statement made by accused 1 in the press conference called by him on 28-4-1983. therefore, the argument of the learned counsel sri shivappa that the publication of the statement in 'sanje vani' completed the alleged offence of defamation in bangalore itself, does not appear to be correct. but, the fact remains that an independent paper like 'samyukta karnataka' paper, independent of the publication in 'sanje vani',published that statement in hubli. ' further it held..........process or repetition of publication made in sanje vani paper. 17. to give an example, if a paper published in london publishes some defamatory statement regarding an indian and if later on, that alleged defamatory statement is also published in indian newspaper, can it be said that the publishing of the statement in the english paper at london completed the offence of defamation and that the publication thereafter in an indian newspaper would not amount to defamation i think it is rather too far-fetched. the people knowing the complainant must come to know about the publication. the complainant must come to know about the publication. the publication in the indian newspaper would be read by any indian in india. therefore, i am unable to agree with the contention advanced by the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. This is a revision by the petitioner, who was accused 1 in C.C. No. 2888/1983 pending on the file of the J.M.F.C. II Court, Hubli City.

2. The complainant filed a complaint for the offence under S. 500, IPC, against accused 1 who is said to have made an alleged defamatory statement and also against accused 2 and 3 who are the Printer and Publisher and Editor of Samyukta Karnataka Daily, published in Hubli. The accused 1 is said to have called a Press Conference on 28th April, 1983 at Bangalore and is said to have made the alleged defamatory statement at that Press Conference. The said statement was published in various newspapers including Samyukta Karnataka Daily published in Hubli. That Samyukta Karnataka Paper was published at Hubli on 29-4-1983. The complainant feeling that the publication of the said statement said to have been made by accused 1 amounted to an offence of defamation as defamation as defined by S. 499, IPC, has filed a complaint in the Court of the J.M.F.C. II Court, Hubli.

3. The learned Magistrate, issued process for the offence under S. 500, IPC, against the accused persons. While the matter was thus pending accused 1 filed an application under S. 179, Cr.P.C. contending that the so called statement made by accused 1 at the Press Conference at Bangalore was published in 'Sanje Vani' newspaper dated 28-4-1983, published in Bangalore and that the offence of defamation could at the most be said to be completed or committed at Bangalore itself and that, therefore, the subsequent publication of that statement in Samyukta Karnataka paper on the next day was nothing but a repetition of what had been published in 'Sanje Vani'. In short, accused 1 contended that the publication of that statement in Samyukta Karnataka, was repetition of what had been published in Sanje Vani the previous day. Repetition of such news, according to accused 1 was not a consequence within the meaning of S. 179, Cr.P.C. Thus, he urged that in the circumstances, the Court at Hubli had no jurisdiction.

4. The counsel for accused I urged that the publication of the statement in Samyukta Karnataka Daily Paper did not amount to one and the same transaction. Accused 1's next contention appears to be, that once be made that statement he ceased to have control over the future events like publication in Samyukta Karnataka. According to him, unless it is shown that accused 1 had a hand in the publication of the news in Samyukta Karnataka paper, he cannot be said to have committed the offence of defamation. In short, accused 1 contended that both the act and the consequence ensued at Bangalore itself.

5. It appears that long drawn arguments were addressed before the Magistrate by both the sides. The learned Magistrate has dealt with the matter in great detail and ultimately held that the J.M.F.C. Court at Hubli had also got jurisdiction and accordingly dismissed the application of accused 1 under S. 179, Cr.P.C.

6. The accused 1 being aggrieved by the said order passed by the Magistrate, has come up with the present revision.

7. The material facts are : Accused 1 called a press conference on 28-4-1983 and made an alleged defamatory statement in that press conference at Bangalore. It is also not in dispute that the so called statement made in the press conference was published in Sanje Vani dt. 28-4-1983 at Bangalore. S. 179, Cr.P.C. reads as :-

'When an act is an offence by reason of anything which has been done and of a consequence which has ensued, the offence may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction such thing has been done or such consequence has ensued'.

This Section contemplates two things : The first is that the offender has done an act and the second is that a consequence has followed from such act and the offender is being tried for the offence as a result of both the act and the consequence; or, in other words, the act by him does not by itself render him liable for the offence and that it is the act coupled with the consequence which constituted the offence and makes him liable for it. The offences contemplated by S. 179, Cr.P.C. are those which are not complete till a special consequence has ensued. The consequence must be the essential ingredient of the offence and it must arise within the jurisdiction of the Court trying the offence. Thus, S. 179, Cr.P.C. applies to those offences which, by their very definition, consist of an act and its consequence. In short, the act and its consequence must together constitute an offence. The offence of defamation consists not only of the statement said to have been made but also its publication. The publication is a consequence of the alleged statement said to be made by the accused. Therefore, the Court which would have jurisdiction must be the Court where the act has been done or where the consequence has ensued. S. 179, Cr.P.C. itself speaks that the offence may be enquired into or tried by the Court within whose jurisdiction such a thing has been done or such consequence has ensued. The consequence contemplated by S. 179 is not a remote consequence of the act done. It is well settled that 'consequence' as mentioned in S. 179, Cr.P.C., is confined to that which is an ingredient of the offence for which the accused person is being tried. Where a petition presented to a person at Lahore contained defamatory statements against another, and was published at Amritsar, it was held that Amritsar Court had jurisdiction to try the offence of defamation, because the publication at Amritsar completed the offence and was a consequence by reason of which the accused was charged with the offence of defamation. (Vide B. B. Mitra's Commentary on the Cr.P.C., 15th Ed. Vol. 1-page 857).

8. It cannot be disputed that the alleged statement said to be made by accused 1 was published in Sanje Vani dt. 28-4-1983, in Bangalore. Whether a publication of such a statement in Sanje Vani would be sufficient to oust the jurisdiction of the Courts outside Bangalore, even though papers like Samyukta Karnataka, published in Hubli have published the statement is in question. Sanje Vani paper no doubt published the statement on 28-4-1983. But at the same time it cannot be forgotten that Samyukta Karnataka daily, admittedly printed and published at Hubli, did publish the same statement on 29-4-1983 i.e., the very next day after the press conference was called and the alleged statement was made. It does not appear to be the case of accused 1 that 'Samyukta Karnataka' made a reference to the publication of the news item in 'Sanje Vani' and made it a source for publication in its paper. Looking to the close proximity of time and the place, and unity or community of purpose or design and continuity of action, it cannot be said that the publication of the statement in 'Samyukta Karnataka' has anything to do with the publication made by 'Sanje Vani' paper. The very caption of Sanje Vani paper shows that it is an evening newspaper. The Samyukta Karnataka was published in the early hours of 29-4-1983. Therefore looking to the close proximity of time, unity of purpose or design in publishing the same. One can very well make out that the publication of the alleged statement said to be made by accused 1 in 'Samyukta Karnataka' paper in the early hours of 29-4-1983 was a consequence of the statement made by accused 1 in the press conference called by him on 28-4-1983. Therefore, the argument of the learned Counsel Sri Shivappa that the publication of the statement in 'Sanje Vani' completed the alleged offence of defamation in Bangalore itself, does not appear to be correct. It may be that the Bangalore court also might have jurisdiction. But, the fact remains that an independent paper like 'Samyukta Karnataka' paper, independent of the publication in 'Sanje Vani', published that statement in Hubli. Therefore, the publication of the alleged statement in 'Samyukta Karnataka' paper will be a consequence within the meaning of S. 179 Cr.P.C. Once the consequence of publication has taken place at Hubli, it cannot be said that Hubli Court has no jurisdiction to try the present offence.

9. The learned Counsel Sri Shivappa quoted State of Karnataka v. M. Balakrishna 1980 Cri LJ 1145 (Kant). He especially placed reliance on the observation made in para 10 by this Court. It reads :

'The word 'transaction' is not intended to be interpreted in any artificial or technical sense; common sense and ordinary use of language must decide whether on the facts of a particular case, one is concerned with one transaction or several transactions. In order that a series of acts be regarded as the same transaction, they must be connected together in some way as for instance by proximity of time, unity of place, unity or community of purpose or design and continuity of action, etc., etc.,'.

This Court was considering the meaning of the word 'transaction' used in S. 220, Cr.P.C. S. 220, Cr.P.C., relates to the question of joinder of charges. In that Case, the question involved was kidnapping and rape. This Court was seized with the problem whether kidnapping and rape constituted one transaction as mentioned in S. 220, Cr.P.C. But in this case, the question of same transaction does not arise at all. The facts in the said case are not at all applicable to the facts of the present case.

10. The learned counsel Sri Shivappa urged that the publication of the statement in Samyukta Karnataka paper cannot be said to be a continuing process of what had been published already in Sanje Vani paper. According to him if it is done over again it would be a separate transaction or offence. The offence in question is one of defamation. It is not a continuing offence at all. The idea of same transaction does not come into, picture at all so far as defamation is concerned. Therefore the said argument does not hold any substance.

11. He then relied on Kamal Singh Badalia v. State, 1980 Cri LJ NOC 59 (Cal) 'Where the alleged defamatory letter was written by the accused at Patna to a Secretary of the Government of Bihar and he made known the contents of the letter to officials of Government of Bihar before forwarding a copy thereof to another person in Calcutta, the offence of defamation, as defined in S. 499, IPC if any, was complete with its publication at Patna when the contents of the letter were made known to officials in the Secretariat. The consequence that ensued in Calcutta was not part of the offence of defamation when it was not the case of the complainant that while addressing the letter to officials at Patna, the accused sent a copy thereof to any one in Calcutta.' Therefore, the point involved in the said case was whether sending of the copy of the letter to Calcutta would amount to publishing of the statement in Calcutta when it was already published in Patna. Therefore, the facts do not have any semblance to the facts involved in the present case.

12. The learned Counsel Sri Shivappa next relied on Banerji v. Potnis, AIR 1924 Nag 253 : (25 Cri LJ 922). What was held in the said case was :-

'The word 'consequence' in S. 179 does not include all the possible results of an act, but is restricted in its scope to certain results; those are the results specified in the provision of the law making the act an offence. The offence of criminal breach of trust is complete with the act of conversion and the intention to cause wrongful gain or wrongful loss. That intention can only be formed or at least can only be proved to have been formed at the place where the conversion takes place. For the purpose of S. 179 it is immaterial where the wrongful loss actually takes place, and indeed whether any such loss actually does take place or not.'

The offence of criminal breach of trust is completed the moment the conversion is done with the intention of causing wrongful gain or wrongful loss. Where exactly the wrongful loss or wrongful gain takes place is not material. Therefore, the said case will not be of much help in this case.

13. He then relied on Diwan Singh v. Emperor, AIR 1936 Nag 55 : (37 Cri LJ 474). It was a case involving the interpretation of the Indian States (Protection against Disaffection) Act, 1922. It was a case where the paper was published at Delhi and circulated at Hoshangabad. The important ingredient to constitute the offence in the said case was the act of publishing. Therefore, in those circumstances, High Court held that the place of circulation is something different from the place of publishing. The paper was published in Delhi and, therefore, it came within the jurisdiction of Delhi Court. Further it was the same paper that was sent from Delhi to Hoshangabad for circulation. The argument of Sri Shivappa, the learned counsel for the petitioner that the publication of the alleged statement in Sanje Vani, completed the offence and thus the principle laid down in Nagpur case was applicable, does not appeal to me in the least. The facts involved in the said Nagpur case as stated above are altogether different from the facts involved in this case.

14. Then he relied on U. M. Aravamutha Iyengar v. Rajarathna Mudaliar, : AIR1957Mad572 . The facts in the said case are :-

'When a letter enclosed in an envelope is posted at any particular place, it cannot amount to publication at the place where the letter is posted. The gist of the offence of defamation being publication of the defamatory matter, if the letter does not reach the other side, it cannot be said that the defamation has been completed merely because the letter was posted at a particular place. There must, therefore, be evidence of the publication to constitute defamation and till the letter is published it cannot be said that defamation has been committed'.

Therefore, the facts involved in the present case are altogether different from the facts of that case.

15. He then relied on Banka Behari Singh v. O. M. Thomas, : AIR1960Ori126 . It was a case under the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. It was a case where the printer and editor were prosecuted under the said Act for publishing some books. Under the said Act, the place of publication was required to be mentioned also. Therefore, the Orissa High Court held :-

'Where the printing and publication of the books containing the alleged defamatory attacks against the petitioner took place at places outside the jurisdiction of the Court of the Magistrate, the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to try the complaint unless the complainant shows that the printing and publishing was part of an organised conspiracy, with the authors or with any other persons who as agents of the authors and publishers disseminated the matter within the jurisdiction of the Magistrate or that they received them by post within the jurisdiction from their place of publication outside the jurisdiction.'.

The Orissa High Court further held :-

'It cannot be said that the dissemination of the books within the Magistrate's jurisdiction is a consequence arising out of the publication of the same outside jurisdiction'.

Accordingly, the Orissa High Court held :-

'The consequence referred to in S. 179 Cr.P.C. must be a part of the offence with which the accused person is charged. If, as soon as an act is committed, the offence is completed at the place where the act is committed then merely because the same offence is repeated at another place, the latter offence cannot be said to be a 'consequence' arising out of the former and within the meaning of the aforesaid section.'

Further it held :-

'The complainant or some of his men might as well have purchased these books from some book stalls or any other source outside jurisdiction and then brought them within jurisdiction but it will not be proper to hold from this fact that the author or the printer or publisher must necessarily be liable for the publication at any place where they may be found.'

As already stated above, the crux of the matter in the said case was the place of publishing. Admittedly, they were published at a place which was outside the jurisdiction of the Magistrate trying the case. Therefore, the facts involved in that case are not similar to the facts involved in this case.

16. The learned Counsel Sri Shivappa, stated that it was the initial publication that completed the offence. According to him, it is not the subsequent publication in any paper on the next day that would amount to a 'consequence' within the meaning of S. 179, Cr.P.C. As already stated above, looking to the proximity of time and the distance between Bangalore and Hubli, it cannot be said that the publication in Samyukta Karnataka, was nothing but a continuing process or repetition of publication made in Sanje Vani paper.

17. To give an example, if a paper published in London publishes some defamatory statement regarding an Indian and if later on, that alleged defamatory statement is also published in Indian Newspaper, can it be said that the publishing of the statement in the English paper at London completed the offence of defamation and that the publication thereafter in an Indian newspaper would not amount to defamation I think it is rather too far-fetched. The people knowing the complainant must come to know about the publication. The complainant must come to know about the publication. The publication in the Indian Newspaper would be read by any Indian in India. Therefore, I am unable to agree with the contention advanced by the learned Counsel Sri Shivappa.

18. The lower Court has made a reference to Dr. Subramaniam Swamy v. Prabhakar S. Pai, (1983) 2 Crimes 427 (Bom). It was a case where Dr. Subramaniyam Swami is alleged to have made a statement in a press conference at Chandigarh and the Indian Express, Delhi Edition published the same. The copies thereof were circulated in Bombay. The question, arises whether Bombay Court had jurisdiction or not. The Bombay High Court has held as follows :

'Now it has been admitted that a part of the act is done by the petitioner-accused at Chandigarh, namely, addressing a press conference and intending that all the reporters, press representatives and others should publish his views and news in the press throughout India. Calling a press conference by the petitioner is not seriously disputed. The very purpose and design to call a press conference is to express one's views before press representatives with an object that it will be given the widest publicity by the press so that a large number of people and readers should read it and know about his views and his thoughts. The Indian Express in which the impugned news item is published is circulated and read in the city of Bombay where the complainant resides. In my view, the consequence of the statement made at Chandigarh has been completed at Bombay by circulation of the said newspaper, and therefore, the offence of defamation is complete in the City of Bombay. In view of the provisions of S. 179, Cri.P.C., both the Courts, at Chandigarh and at Bombay, will have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint under S. 500, Penal Code.'

Though the Indian Express mentioned in the said ruling was published in Delhi, Bombay, High Court held that on account of the said Indian Express, Delhi Edition, being circulated and read in Bombay, the Court at Bombay will also have the jurisdiction. Therefore, the said ruling, in my opinion, answers the subtle questions raised by Mr. Shivappa.

19. It may be that on account of the publication in Sanje Vani, the Court at Bangalore has also got jurisdiction, but it does not mean that the Court at Hubli has no jurisdiction, though the Samyukta Karnataka daily was printed and published at Hubli. The learned counsel Sri. Shivappa tried to distinguish the said case stating that part of the act was done in Chandigarh and that the reading and circulation of the Indian Express, Delhi Edition, when it was circulated in Bombay, constituted the 'consequence'. The complainant in the present case does not reside in Bangalore, but he resides at Siddapur. According to Shri Shivappa, the complainant came to know of the publication in 'Sanje Vani' dt. 28-4-1983. It may be that the complainant did make a reference in the legal notice to 'Sanje Vani' newspaper, but there is nothing to show that the complainant had come to know of the publication in 'Sanje Vani' on 28-4-1983.

20. The Magistrate in his own way has tried to deal in detail with the contentions advanced by Sri Shivappa and the conclusions reached by him are unassailable. Therefore, the Revision Petition is dismissed.

21. At this stage, the learned Counsel Shri Shivappa requested for certificate of fitness to appeal to the Supreme Court.

22. In my opinion the present case does not involve any substantial question of law of general importance which requires to be decided by the Supreme Court. Therefore, the certificate prayed for is rejected.

23. Petition dismissed.


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