Gopalrao Ekbote, J.
1. This is an application under Section 561A of the Criminal P.C., asking this Court to quash the proceedings in C.0. No. 5934/1965 on the file of the VIIIth City Magistrate, City Criminal Court, Hyderabad.
2. It appears that on January 11, 1960 the Advocate-General of the Andhra Pradesh applied to this Court for action against the respondent Prabhskar Rao H. Mawle under Section 2 of the Vexatious Litigation (Prevention) Act, 1949 (Madras Act VIII of 1949), on the allegation tint be had been 'habitually' and 'without any reasonable ground' instituting 'vexations proceedings' in the Courts within the limits of Hyderabad and Secunderabad cities and also in the High Court and that he was a vexatious and habitual litigant and, therefore, sought a, direction under Section 2 of the Act. Mr. Mawle appears to have resisted that petition mainly on two grounds. It was contended firstly that the said Madras Act was ultra vires and unconstitutional and secondly since that Act was not extended to Telangaua area he (Mawle) who was a resident of Telangana could not be proceeded with under the Bail Act in relation to the Courts situated at Hyderabad.
3. Repelling these contentions a Bench of this Court by judgment dated 21st April, 1961 held that the said Act was intra vires and did not offend the provisions of the Constitution. It also held that this Court had jurisdiction to make necessary orders under the said Act against the respondent herein. The High Court, therefore, ordered that no proceeding, civil or criminal, should be instituted by Mawle in the City of Hyderabad without the leave of the High Court and in the City of Secunderabad without the leave of the District and Sessions Judge concerned.
4. Mr. Mawle carried the matter in appeal to the Supreme Court. The matter was heard by a Constitution Bench consisting of five learned Judges, Hidayatullah, J., who wrote the principal opinion of the majority, held that the said Madras Act was not ultra vires the Constitution. It was, however, found that since the said Act was not extended to Telangana Area, the High Court was in error in holding that the Act merely created a procedural jurisdiction in the High Court of Madras which on its division into two High Courts, inhere in both the High Courts and continued to inhered in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh even for porpoises of areas to which the Act had not been extended. In regard to the merits of the case their Lordships observed:
We have not gone into the merits and there is much that justified action against Mawle. He has filed dozens of oases and has flooded dad courts with litigation after by way of repeated petitions on the same matter. As we find that the Act is not available against him we say nothing more. We may place on record that Mawle expressed his willingness before as to be restrained in his litigation and we hops that he will now make amends for his past conduct. We expect him to behave properly in future. The appeal is allowed.
5. Shah J., however, in his separate opinion disagreed with the majority view and held that the High Court of Andhra Pradesh had jurisdiction under the said Madras Act and it was competent to pass the order against the respondent. The learned Judge, of course, agreed with the view of the majority that the said Madras Act was intra vires the Constitution. On merits the learned Judge fait that the cases which the appellant (respondent herein) had instituted in the various Courts did not justify a drastic order of the nature passed against him. This judgment was delivered on 9th April, 1965.
6. United News of India (UNI) carried the new3 of this judgment which was duly sent by Teleprinter to its branches in India. The said news was accordingly received by its local Manager, the second accused-petitioner Mr. D. Seetaram. In turn the local Manager of the United News of India which is a Private Limited Company sent the news to the first accused petitioner who is the Editor of an Urdu Daily 'Siyasat' printed and published at Hyderabad. This news was Bent by United News of India (UNI) from Delhi on 12th April, 1965. After due translation it was published in the 'Siyasat' daily in the issue of 15th April, 1965. The original Urdu news as was published in the said issue is before me. An admitted translation of the said news in English is as follows:
Delhi Item Appeal oneNew Delhi April 12 (UNI): The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by Mr. Prabhaker Rao Mawle, a businessman of Telangana, against the order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court restraining him from instituting proceedings in a Law Court without prior permission from the Andhra High Court. The Supreme Court's judgment stated that Mr. Mawle was known for filing Vexatious petitions and flooding courts with litigation, in one case it was stated that he filed a dozen petitions describing the judgment of the lower court as 'Shocking to the sense of justice and a grave dereliction of duty on the part of the judged.
To prevent Mr. Mawle from continuing such activities the Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh moved an application under Section 2 of the Vexatious Litigation (Prevention) Act of 1949 Madras, by which the High Court could prevent a person from proceeding in a law Court.
The High Court accepted the Advocate General's application end published a gazette notification debarring Mr. Mawle from approaching a court without the permission of the High Court.
Mr. Mawle obtained special leave to appeal against this order on the ground that the arbitrary power given to the High Court in the (sic violated his fundamental right not to be discriminated against.
He also urged that since the Act had been passed by the former Madras legislature in 1949 it could not be applied against the residents of Telangana, part of the former State of Hyderabad.(More).
Appeal two and last.
The Supreme Court rejected Mr. Mawle's contention regarding the constitutional validity of the Act and held that the type of persons like Mr. Mawle were a class by themselves and that the restrictions imposed by the Act were reasonable.
On the question of jurisdiction the Supreme Court held that the Act had cot linen extended to the entire area of Andhra Pradesh. Hence the High Court, by making it to applicable had virtually functioned as a legislature.
Mr. Justice, J.C. Sbab, in a concurring but separated judgment, said, 'Mr. Mawle, by instituting cases and filing petitions, has shown less objectivity and more enthusiasm than a lawyer and had attempted to obtain benefit under the lacunae of law. That does not mean that the imposition of a blanket restriction was warranted.'(UNI).
The respondent upon learning that the said news was published in the Siyasat daily issued notice to all the three accused on 19th April, 1965 alleging inter alia that the accused had waited and seen that the above had been published in the Hindustan Times dated 18.4.1965 under the caption of 'Madras Litigation Act Andhra High Court has do jurisdiction' and in the Indian Express, Vijayawada dated 14.4.1965 under the caption of Order under Vexatious Litigation Act. quashed. The imposition of a blanket restriction against him of the nature imposed by the High Court. was, therefore, not warranted'. It was alleged further that the acceding under the influences of the enemies of the respondent deliberately concocted a false, mischievous and untrue news and added to it their own imaginative prefixes and affixed Indian condiments and masala by their own and got the same published in the Daily Siyasat dated 15.4.1965 at page 7, with some ulterior, definite, mala fide intentions, motives of defaming, causing him harm in prestige reputation, body mind and finances, hutting him seriously.
7. The respondent, therefore, demanded the 1st petitioner that he should republish the said news correctly as it was published in the Hindustan Times and the Indian Express within 7 days from the receipt of the notice and also to tender an unconditional apology to him He also demanded a compensation of one lack of rupees from each of the three accused and threatened that if the said requirements were not complied with he would have recourse to such remedies as are available to him.
8. This notice was received by the 1st petitioner on 21st April, 1965. Realizing the mistake which had crept in the news as published in the issue dated 15th April, 1965 he alleges that he compared the translation published with the original news which his office had received and upon learning the unfortunate mistakes committed by the translator dismissed him from the service. He also sent a reply to the notice of the respondent the same day. He expressed his sincere regret for the said publication of the news and apologized for the mistake by his editorial staff. Aadesired by the respondent the correct news with an apology from the Editor and giving it a two column proper headline was published in the issue of 22.4.1965. It is stated that he personally called on the respondent and expressed his retests and apologized for the inconvenience caused to him on account of the inadvertent and unintentional mistake committed by some of his editorial staff and press.
9. Evidently cot satisfied with what was done by the 1st petitioner the respondent seems to have issued another notice on 5th May, 1965 alleging inter alia that the accused were aware of the fact that the responsibility of the said publication rested on them and they could not now shirk the same by dragging in the translator. He, therefore, threatened to put the process of law in motion against all the three accused. The respondent issued what is called a supplementary notice on 24th May, 1965, informing the accused that he has now 'found out and discovered that the news item published in the issue of 15.4.1965 was the intentional, deliberate, mischief committed, the hurt, the injury caused, by the respondent by the intentional, deliberate, fraudulent, dis-honest, fabrications and the forgery of the judgment dated 9.4.1965 of the Hoa'ble Supreme Court of India'. He threaten, ed them that they would be prosecuted, the consequences of which would have to be borne by them. The first petitioner does not seem to have given any reply to the subsequent notice. The respondent thereafter instituted a complaint on 7th June, 1965, C.C. No. 5802 of 1965 before the VI City Magistrate of the City Criminal Court alleging almost the same facts. He wanted all the three accused to be convicted under Section 440 read with Section 44 I.P.C. and Sections 500, 501 and 502 I.P.C. The learned Magistrate recorded the deposition of the respondent on oath on 18th June, 1965 and after taking cognizance of the ease issued summons to the accused. The aroused have now put in appearance in the said case and the matter is still pending.
10. While the matter stood thus the accused 1 and 2 in the lower court (petitioners 1 and 2 herein) filed the present petition under Section 561A of the Criminal Procedure Code narrating the facts as stated above and sought the proceedings to be quashed solely on the ground that the facts as alleged by the respondent in his complaint as well as in his deposition do not constitute any offense under any one of the above said sections of the Indian Penal Code. It was alleged that the respondent instituted the complaint in spite of the apology and republication of the correct news, is pursuance of his vexatious attitude.
11. The respondent filed a counter and denied the allegations made against him in the petition and Bought to justify the complaint which he has filed against the three accused.
12. It seems to me now fairly established that this court would not normally exercise jurisdiction vested in it under Section 561A, Criminal P.C. unless there are proper and sufficient grounds to exercise the inherent jurisdiction in order to prevent the abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. Normally criminal proceedings instituted against the accused persona should be allowed to be tried under the provisions of the Code and this Court is usually reluctant to interfere with the said proceedings at an intermediate stage as it always considered that it is neither desirable nor expedient to interfere in the ordinary process of law unless of courses as stated earlier there are justifiable grounds to exercise the inherent jurisdiction under Section 501A, 'Criminal P.C. There are no hard and fast rules laid down under which the inhere t power of this court can be exercised. It is not possible to say and lay down the circumstances under which this extraordinary power can be nut to use. there are, however, some judicially accepted principles in the light; of which it is desirable or it becomes the duty of the court to press into service the inherent jurisdiction and quash the proceedings which appear to the court to be set in motion is a clear abuse of the process of the court One of such principles is that where the allegations in the complaint and the deposition even if taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not constitute the offence alleged this Court can certainly exercise the inherent jurisdiction. In such cases it is plain that no question of appreciating evidence arises. It is a matter merely of looking into the complaint and the deposition and finding out whether the facts alleged to constitute the offense alleged to have been committed by the accused.
13. Let me in the light of this principle examine the complaint and the deposition of the respondent recorded by the VI City Magistrate in order to find out whether they constitute the offenee under Section 440 read with Section 44 and the offences under Sections 500, 501 and 502 I.P.C.
14. Taking first into consideration the offences alleged to have been committed by the accused under Section 440 read with Section 44 I.P.C. it is eminently plain that in order to attract the provisions of Section 440 read with 44 I.P.C. to allege and establish the following three essentialities which constitute the offence under the said sections:
(1) Intention or knowledge of likelihood to cause wrongful lost of damage to the public or to any person.
(2) Causing the destruction of some property or any; such change in any property or in the situation thereof; and.
(3) Such changes must result in destroying or diminishing the value or utility at any property or affect in it injuriously.
Under Section 440 I.P.C. whoever commits mischief, haring made preparation for causing to any person death, or hurt, or wrongful restraint, or fear of death, or of hurt, or of wrongful restraint, shall be punished with imprisonment. A close analysis of that section would reveal that in order to apply that provision mischief must have been committed after making necessary preparation for causing death or hurt or wrongful restraint. The expression mischief is defined under Section 425 I.P.C. In order to complete the charge under the said sections as stated above three things will have to be alleged and, if called upon, proved. It is thus plain that either destruction of property or some change in the property or in the situation which has the effect of destroying or diminishing the value or utility or in any event affecting it injuriously is necessary. The word property used in this section really means some tangible property capable of being destroyed or damaged in the value or utility. It must be remembered that Section 440 read with Section 44 I.P.C. is an offence committed against the property. Sections 425 and 440 appear in the 17th Chapter entitled 'offences against property'. If there is no allegation that mischief was committed through the medium of property as is visualized by Section 440 read with Section 44 I.P.C. It is plain that it cannot be validly said that an offence can be constituted.
Admittedly there is no allegation either in the complaint or in the deposition to the effect that with an intent or knowledge on the part of the three accused that they were likely to cause wrongful loss or damage, there was either destruction of the property or some change in it which resulted in diminishing its value or utility. I am, therefore, clearly of the opinion that even if all the facts as mentioned in the complaint and were supported by the deposition on oath are taken to be true even then they do not go to make an offence under Section 440 read with Section 44 I.P.C. What must follow is that the learned Magistrate ought not to have taken cognizance of the complaint under the said sections.
15. Turning then to the other group of sections under which the complaint was filed against the accused, that is, Sections 500, 501 and 502 I.P.C. which sections relate to definition. This defamation is alleged to have been committed by printing and publishing a news item relating to the judgment of the Supreme Court. It is now well established that a newspaper report of the proceedings in a court of justice which obviously includes a judgment delivered by a court need not have been published contemporaneously. What is required in law is that such publication should substantially give a true report of the proceedings of tie court. It is not necessary that it should be absolutely true word by word Even if some minor errors creep in while printing or publishing such news which are not material and do not affect the substance of the proceedings sought to be reported, no particular importance can be attached to such errors.
16. It is also plain that when a court considers the alleged defamatory publication it must consider the publication as a whole. Where some passages in such publication are alleged to be defamatory, it should be read in its entirety with a view to find out the main purpose and if the printer or publisher has faithfully and honestly conveyed the court proceedings, he cannot be charged with the offence of defamation.
17. It must, however, be understood that the Editor of a newspaper is in no better position than an ordinary subject with regard to liability for libel. The freedom of the journalize is an ordinary part of the freedom of a citizen and to whatever length a citizen is permitted to go the journalist may also go. But except for the permitted limits under the Statute Law, the privilege of an Editor of a Newspaper is not other and in any case not higher than an ordinary citizen. He is bound to take due care and precaution before he publishes a libelous statement A person, who is an Editor of a Newspaper, need not transact all the business relating to the printing and publishing of a newspaper. He may entrust lawfully some of the duties to other persons. In the discharge of such duties by such porosities impossible for the the Editor to remain present at performance of every part of their duty. Unless he remains absent for the purpose of shifting his responsibility in case of liability knowing very well that a libelous statement is published in his paper, if he remains honestly absent and entrust the duty to be carried on by persona who would be competent to deal wish such matters it cannot be said that he has remained absent in bad faith or that entrustment of the duties was in manner improper. It would is such a case constitute a good excuse on the part of the Editor of the Newspaper.
It is thus plain that if a person publishes a defamatory mutter in the routine and in the ordinary way of business, the nature of the business an I the way in which it was conducted must be taken into account He must succeed is showing firstly that he was innocent of any knowledge of the libel contained in any issue of the paper edited by him, and secondly that after the news was received from a news service there was nothing which the Editor had to do before it finds a place in the issue published and which should have led him to suppose that the said news contained a libel and thirdly that when the paper was published it was not by any negligence on his part that he did not know that the issue contained a libelous statement. Thus although a person, who is an Editor of a newspaper, prima facie liable for any libel statement published in his paper, he may, after proof of the above said facts, be absolved of the liability of a defamatory statement. This, however, is a question of fact which will have to be enquired into before the defense, as act up by the Editor in this case, is brought under exception to Section 499, Penal Code and I am nit inclined to quash the proceedings on the allegations made by the Editor in this petition that it was the translator who bad committed the mistake and that he was not responsible for the same, without making pr proper investigation into all the facts referred by the Editor in his petition.
18. I have, however, to consider the principal contention advanced by the learned Public Pro. Secutor as well as by Mr. Mohd. Yunus Saleem, the learned Counsel for the petitioners that even if the allegations made in the com patient and in the deposition of the rospoulent are taken at their face value; they do not constitute any office under Section 500, 501 or 502, Penal Code. Section 500, Penal Code provides punishment for defamation. Section 499 defines who defamations. An analysis of that section would reveal that the said section requires three essentials:
(1) making or publishing any imputation concerning any person.
(2) Such imputation must have been made
(a) by words, either spoken or intended to be read, or
(b) by signs; or
(c) by visible representations,
(3) Such imputation must have been made with the intention or harming, or with knowledge or reason to believe that it will harm the reputation of the person concerning whom it is made.
19. Whether the imputation was made with the intention of harming or with the knowledge or reason to believe that it will harm the reputation of the parson concerning whom it is made, it can safely be said that the news was published concerning a judgment in which Mr. Mawle was concerned. The first requirement therefore, can be said to have been complied with. The second requirement also seems to me to be fulfilled because the imputation was made in a newspaper which obviously was intended to be read by the members of the public. It is be the third requirement that a good deal of argument were directed both by the learned Public Prosecutor and the counsel for the petitioners as well as by Mr. Mawle. It is not in dispute that the third requirement is necessary to make the offence of a defamation under anyone of the three sections under which the three accused are charged. Now the intention or knowledge is not certainly a tangible thing which can be put forward. It has to be gathered from the facts mentioned by the complainant in the light of the circumstances of the case. I was carefully taken through the complaint and deposition of the respondent more than once. Except the allegation that exoreic news was published on 13th and 14th in the Hindustan Times and in the Indian Express respectively no other fact is specifically alleged which would disclose that any one of the three accused or all of them bad an intention to harm the respondent or at least they had knowledge or some reason to believe that it will harm the reputation of the respondent regarding whom the news relating to the judgment was published.
20. Before I deal with the allegations made by the complainant respondent in an attempt to fulfill the third requirement, it is necessary to find out whether the news published on 15th April, 1965 made any malicious imputation defamatory to the reputation of the respondent. I have already extracted the accepted translation of the said publication. At first flash I thought that the two headlines given by the said news, paper are in correct and are not in consonance with the Supreme Court Judgment but on a careful reading of the decision of the Supreme Court I do not think that the two headlines are in any manner inconsistent with the observation made by the majority of the learned Judges of the Supreme Court. I have made references to the relevant portions of the said judgment from which it would be evident that their Lordship of the Supreme Court did make an observation that the respondent has filed dozens of oases and flooded courts with litigation often by way of repeated petitions on the same matter. It wag also observed at another place that
Mawle...as is to be expected from a litigant of hip sort, filed a fairly long statement in reply denying each accusation and explaining his conduct.
In fact Mr. Mawle seems to have given an undertaking to the Supreme Court when he expressed his willingness to be restraint in his litigation and is was on that representation that their Lordships hoped that he would make amends and improve his conduct and it was expected that he would behave properly in future. In the light of these observations which would appear in the judgment it cannot be validity argued that the two captions given in the issue published on 15th April, 1965 did not reflect the substance of the judgment of the majority. It cannot therefore, be in any manner defamatory to what was observed by the Supreme Court. The news, however, is totally inaccurate when it says that the appeal filed by the respondent was rejected. I do not think that when the news says that tie Supreme Court has observed that Mr. Mawle filed repeated petitions, it goes in any way contrary to the observation of the Supreme Court already referred to above.
21. Similarly when it refers to the facts that the Advocate General, Andhra Pradesh filed an application under the Madras Act seeking to restrain the respondent from instituting any litigation without obtaining the necessary permission, it cannot be said to be inconsistent with the facts as narrated in the decision of the Supreme Court. The news however, refers to the contentions raised by Mr. Mawle.
22. In regard to the constitutionality of the Madras Act. it correctly represents when it says that the Supreme Court rejected the contention that the Madras Act is ultra vires the Constitution.
23. In the light of the observation of the Supreme Court extracted above it cannot fee argued that the news stating that the Supreme Court has observed in its judgment that the application of the Madras Act to persons like Mr. Mawle is necessary is incorrect.
24. Then the news refers to the sop irate decision written by Justice Shah. In so for as that is concerned it does not seem to be in accordance with what his Lordship has stated in his judgment. It could rot be shown that any observation attributed to Justice Shah was in fact made by him in his separate opinion in fact, Justice Shah expressed his view on merits is favour of Mr. Mawle. A careful comparison of the said news with the decision of the Supreme Court would, therefore, reveal that the news is incorrect in respect of the fact that Mr. Mawle's appeal was disallowed. It is also incorrect in respect of what was observed by Justice Shah. I do not wish to go into the larger question whether the said two statements, assuming that they are not mistakes, constitute defamation or not. Assuming, when without deciding go. that these two incorrect statements appearing in the said news constitute defamation within the meaning of Section 499, I.P.C. it still remains to be seen whether there is any material available in the complaint and decoration to show that the accused thereby intended to harm the reputation of the complainant.
There is no allegation in the complaint and deposition that there exists some enmity between the complainant and the accused Evidently they belong to different fields of business; while Mr. Mawle is a businessman, the accused are journalists and he did not seem to hive anything common with the accused. It is therefore, expected in these circumstances of the complaint to give facts to show that there were reasons for the accused to intend to cause harm to the reputation of the respondent.
25. As stated earlier except the fact that the correct news was published in the two news, panels a day or two earlier, no other facts are alleged in the complaint and the deposition. Merely because correct news was published in other two newspapers it does not necessarily follow that the accused read these papers and compare them with the news which was going to be published and in spent of that he allowed it to go with an intention to harm the reputation of the complainant. There is no circumstance which warrants any such inference.
26. Similarly there are no allegations made or facts shown that the aoudad were aware of the libelous material translated ii the news and yet they allowed that to go in print find in circulation. In the absence of any such intention or knowledge no offence can be said to have been constituted. The circumstances of the case clearly point out to the other way.
27. I am not impressed by the argument that since the Supreme Court gives notice to the par. ties concerned of the date of the delivery of the judgment that can be a notice to the journalists. Merely because the Supreme Court transacts its business in an open Court, it docs not mean that the accused were aware of the mistakes committed in the transition. It is nobody's case that the U N I report sent to the first accused did not substantially convey the judgment given by the Supreme Court. In fact a comparison of the said news with the decision of the Supreme Court would not convince me in any manner that it did not faithfully report the substance of the judgment. Attempts were made before me to show that the U N I issued no such news. It was not, however, alleged in any notice prior to the lodging of the complaint nor in the deposition. In fact in one of the notices the respondent emphasized the fact that the second news also was published by the first accused under U N I. The word also used in that context clearly shows that the respondent admits that it is at the instance of UN that the said news was published by A1. No reason was shown to doubt the correctness of the report sent by UNI to the first accused. There are no circumstances to raise any suspicion in that behalf.
Once it is found that the report of the news sent by UNI to A1 substantially reflects the substance of the judgment, A2 and A3 go out of the picture. There cannot be by any stretch of imagination, that the accused intended to defame or publish anything defamatory. They have merely honestly and in good faith reported the substance of the judgment. With reference to A1, his subsequent conduct, which is admitted by the respondent clearly shows that he was acting in good faith and had no malice or reason to rear any such malice against the respondent. Ha not only published the correct news but appended to it an apology in appropriate terms. The publication gave a very prominent plane to the publication of Correction of apology. The absence of any allegation of intention to cause harm or such knowledge and the circumstances of the case admitted by the respondent and the subsequent conduct of A1 do not leave me in doubt that the third requirement order to attract the provisions of Section 499 I.P.C. is conspicuously anent in the case. No offence can, therefore, be said to have been committed by the accused under Sections 500, 501 and 502, I.P.C. In the view that I have taken, it is not necessary to go into the other Arguments advanced with reference to these sections.
I am, therefore, satisfied that the facts as alleged in complaint and deposition do not constitute, even if they are taken to be true, any offence under any one of the sections alleged in the com. plaint. I am also satisfied that the complainant did not want to have recourse to this case in order to vindicate his reputation. It was abundantly vindicated when at his own demand A1 published the apology along with the correct news. He also personally met the respondent and expressed his regret and apologized for the inconvenience caused to the respondent.
28. What must follow is that the complaint if allowed to be tried by the VIII City Magistrate, City Criminal Court to whom the case is transferred would, be a clear abuse o the process of law and in order to meet the ends of justice this seems to me an eminently it ease where I should exercise the powers vested in me under Section 561A, Criminal P.C. and in fact in view of the circumstances of the case I consider it my duty to quash C.C. 5934/1965 on the tile of the VIII City Magistrate, City Criminal Court, Hyderabad and I do direct accordingly.