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Ankaraju Subbaraya Vs. Batuk Prasad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject Criminal
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1937All677
AppellantAnkaraju Subbaraya
RespondentBatuk Prasad
Excerpt:
- - if a well defined class is defamed, each and every member of that class can file a complaint. the leaflet clearly relates to the ganga putras who call themselves brahmins and who are not brahmins and who are not entitled to the charitable gifts from the pilgrims. that case related to a well defined group of persons to which the complainants belonged......by the applicant. in that leaflet a reference was made to the deception of the pilgrims by the ganga putras, 'who called themselves brahmins'. reference was also made to certain shashtras and shlokas therein which referred to the origin of the ganga putras. at another place a reference was made to ganga putras who were 'non-brahmins'. the case for the prosecution was that the complainant was a ganga putra, that he was a brahmin and that he was defamed by the leaflet. there can be no question as regards the law point. if a well defined class is defamed, each and every member of that class can file a complaint. in other cases the defamatory words must refer to some ascertained and ascertainable person and that person must be the complainant. where the words reflect on each and every.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Ganga Nath, J.

1. This is an application in revision by Pt. Ankaraju Subbaraya against the order of the learned Sessions Judge of Benares setting aside the order of dismissal of the opposite party's (complainant's) complaint by the learned trial Magistrate and sending back the case for further enquiry into the complaint. A complaint was filed under Section 500, I.P.C., by Batuk Prasad against the applicant. Evidence was produced by the applicant and thereafter the learned trial Magistrate came to the conclusion that the complainant was not an aggrieved person and he could not file the complaint. The complaint was based on certain passages contained in a leaflet published by the applicant. In that leaflet a reference was made to the deception of the pilgrims by the Ganga Putras, 'who called themselves Brahmins'. Reference was also made to certain shashtras and shlokas therein which referred to the origin of the Ganga Putras. At another place a reference was made to Ganga Putras who were 'non-Brahmins'. The case for the prosecution was that the complainant was a Ganga Putra, that he was a Brahmin and that he was defamed by the leaflet. There can be no question as regards the law point. If a well defined class is defamed, each and every member of that class can file a complaint. In other cases the defamatory words must refer to some ascertained and ascertainable person and that person must be the complainant. Where the words reflect on each and every member of a certain number or class, each or all can sue. If the words reflect impartially on either A or B, or on someone of a certain number or class, and there is nothing to show which one was meant, no one can sue : Odgers on Libel and Slander, Edn. 6, pp. 123 and 124. If there had been only one and one class of people known by the name of Ganga Putras and if that class consisted of no one else except Brahmins, the complainant might have urged that he was defamed. As appears from the evidence of the complainant himself, there is a caste known as Ganga Putras which has been described in the shashtras, to some of the shlokas of which a reference has been made in the leaflet itself. There is another class of persons who are Brahmins and who earn their livelihood by getting Dans or charitable gifts from the pilgrims on the banks of the Ganges at Benares. Pt. Vidyadhayi (P.W. 2) has deposed:

In shlokas 99, 100 and 107 of 10th Adhyaya of Brahma Vivarta, the origin of Ganga Putras is given as illegitimate children of illegitimate parents. The complainant is not a Ganga Putra in this sense. The complainant is called a Ganga Putra as they derive their livelihood from Ganga and simply denotes their profession. The shloka referred to above is about division of caste and the designation of complainant as Ganga Putra does not denote caste. The Ganga Putras in the Brahma Vivarta denotes a sub-division of chandala.

2. Another witness Pt. Madan Mohan Shastri (P.W. 3) has deposed:

I know all prominent Ganga Putras of Benares. I know Dau. He is a Ganga Putra and we can dine with him. These are known as Ganga Putras because they take gifts (Dan) at Gangatir. The 107th shloka means that Ganga Putra is born at Gangatir.

3. The third witness Pt. Purna Chandra Achari (P.W. 4) has deposed:

The 99th and following shlokas of Brahm Vivarta refer to a special caste and those of here are so called owing to their profession.

4. It would thus appear that there is a class of people whose caste is Ganga Putras, and there is also another class of people who do not belong to the caste of Ganga Putras but who are called Ganga Putras because they earn their livelihood from performing service at the banks of the Ganges. The leaflet clearly relates to the Ganga Putras who call themselves Brahmins and who are not Brahmins and who are not entitled to the charitable gifts from the pilgrims. The fact that a reference has been made in the leaflet to Brahma Vivarta which deals with the class of people whose caste is Ganga Putra make it clear that the leaflet applied to that class of people whose caste was Ganga Putras and who were not Brahmins but who called themselves Brahmins and who deceived the pilgrims by getting gifts from them as Brahmins. The complainant does not come within this category. If a person complains that he has been defamed as a member of a class, he must satisfy the Court that the imputation is against him personally and he is the person aimed at before he can maintain a prosecution for defamation : Pratap Chandra Guha v. Emperor : AIR1925Cal1121 . The learned trial Magistrate was right in holding that the complainant has no cause of action for this complaint. The case relied on by the learned Sessions Judge does not apply to this case as the observations made above would show. That case related to a well defined group of persons to which the complainants belonged. It is therefore ordered that the application be allowed and the order of the learned Sessions Judge be set aside.


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