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Tek Chand Gupta Vs. R.K. Karanjia and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1969CriLJ536
AppellantTek Chand Gupta
RespondentR.K. Karanjia and ors.
Excerpt:
.....of the complaint was raised in that case to the effect that the persons aimed against in that article were not the girls of the college but the honorary secretary of the college and inasmuch as the honorary secretary did not file the complaint, the prosecution at the instance of the girls must fail. the complainant alleged that the above imputation was absolutely false and malicious and grossly defamatory, and as several near relations of his were widows, the aforesaid imputation had lowered their reputation and credit as well as those of the complainant in the estimation of others and in consequence the complainant was an aggrieved person. the police magistrate who was seized of the matter dismissed the complaint on the observation inter alia that a collection of men or women as..........magistrate, first class, dehradun.2. he filed a petition in revision against that order of the learned magistrate but it was also dismissed by the additional district magistrate (judicial), dehradun.3. aggrieved by the order of the two-courts below, shri tek chand has filed the present revision petition in this court.4. shri tek chand is a resident of 68, jhanda mohalla, kotwali, dehradun. he filed a complaint under section 500, i.p.c., against shri r.k. karanjiya, chief editor, printer and publisher of 'blitz', hindi-weekly of bombay, shri munish saxena, editor of the said weekly and shri a. raghavan, correspondent of the said weekly. it was alleged that, in the hindi edition of the said paper dated 28th march 1964, the accused published imputations on pp. 3 and 15, which were false.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Rajeshwari Prasad, J.

1. Shri Tek Chand has filed this petition in revision. A complaint filed by him was dismissed by Shri K.S. Pathak, Special Magistrate, First Class, Dehradun.

2. He filed a petition in revision against that order of the learned Magistrate but it was also dismissed by the Additional District Magistrate (Judicial), Dehradun.

3. Aggrieved by the order of the two-Courts below, Shri Tek Chand has filed the present revision petition in this Court.

4. Shri Tek Chand is a resident of 68, Jhanda Mohalla, Kotwali, Dehradun. He filed a complaint under Section 500, I.P.C., against Shri R.K. Karanjiya, Chief Editor, printer and publisher of 'Blitz', Hindi-weekly of Bombay, Shri Munish Saxena, Editor of the said weekly and Shri A. Raghavan, correspondent of the said weekly. It was alleged that, in the Hindi edition of the said paper dated 28th March 1964, the accused published imputations on pp. 3 and 15, which were false to their knowledge and were meant to harm the reputation of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, the members of which are spread all over the country. According to the complainant, the remarks were scandalous and on account of the same, the members of the said body have been lowered down in public estimate. The complainant was a member of the said body. Consequently, the article had caused immense harm to the reputation of the complainant and he has been lowered down in the estimate of his relations, friends and' acquaintances as well as in the eyes of the public. It was also alleged that like him, the other members of that body have also been injured. The heading of the article published at the third page of that issue of the paper is as follows:

Sharnarthiyon ki madad kametteyan dokhe ki tatti-dange ke pichhe R.R.S. aur Pakistani ajentonka hath.

On the top of the article appears the picture of Shri Golwalker who is Sar Sangh Chalak of that body.

5. It is not necessary for me to quote the actual article in this order because the question whether the article is really defamatory or not is not before me.

6. The ground on which the complaint has been dismissed in effect is that even if the article in question be defamatory of a whole class, it cannot be said that the reputation of the complainant individually had been affected by the same.

7. The two Courts below have held that the complaint was not maintainable in that view of the matter.

8. The learned Additional District Magistrate has also expressed the view that Explanation (2) of Section 499, I.P.C., deals with defamation of a class which is not too large. Second Explanation of Section 499, I.P.C., reads as follows:

It may amount to defamation to make an imputation concerning a company or an association or collection of persons as such.

The test laid down by various Courts for the application of Explanation (2) of Section 499, I.P.C., appears to be that the class or the association of persons must not be unidentifiable. If it is identifiable in the sense that it is definite, then the remarks about it are defamatory of the class within the meaning of Section 499, I.P.C. The complainant is a member of the body against which the defamatory remarks are said to have been made in that article. My attention has been invited by the learned Counsel for the revisionist to the constitution of the body for the purpose of convincing me that it cannot be said that the body in question is indefinite or not identifiable. There is a regular constitution by which the body is controlled and there are various offices mentioned in the constitution which are held by the members of that body. It is not clear why the learned Magistrate, without examining all the evidence that may have been produced on behalf of the complainant, took a decision to the effect that the body against which the remarks have been made in the article is too large, meaning thereby that it is unidentifiable. Without considering the evidence that the complainant could have produced in support of his complaint, the conclusion at which the learned Magistrate arrived appears to be rather hasty.

9. A large number of decisions have been cited by the learned Counsel for the parties in this case, but it is hardly necessary for me at this stage to refer to all of them.

10. In the case of Sahib Singh Mehra v. State of Uttar Pradesh : 1965CriLJ434 , it was observed:

The language of Explanation 2 is general and any collection of persons would be covered by it. Of course, that collection of persons must be identifiable in the sense that one could, with certainty, say that this group of particular people has been defamed, as distinguished from the rest of the community. The prosecution staff of Aligarh or, as a matter of fact, the prosecuting staff in the State of Uttar Pradesh, is certainly such an identifiable group or collection of persons. There is nothing indefinite about it. This group consists of all members of the prosecuting staff in the service of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. Within this general group of Public Prosecutors of U.P. there is again an identifiable group of prosecuting staff, consisting of Public Prosecutors and Assistant Public Prosecutors, at Aligarh. This group of persons would be covered by Explanation 2 and could, therefore, be the subject of defamation.

11. To the same effect is the view taken in the case of Wahid Ullah Ansari v. Emperor : AIR1935All743 . In that case two articles were published in the paper called 'University Punch', Aligarh, which contained most scandalous accusations against the girls of the Girls' Intermediate College of Aligarh. The first of the said articles asserted that the girls of the College frequented broad Morris Road, green meadows and canal banks which are frequented by pleasure-seeking youths every morning and evening for their solace and enjoyment. Meena Bazar Exhibition was held within the precincts of the College, that University students and professors - Muslims and non-Muslim gentry of the town and gay officers visited the place after obtaining tickets for shopping with these educated Muslim harlots of the Meena Bazar. A complaint under Section 500, I.P.C., was filed by some of the girls of the College concerned. A plea against the maintainability of the complaint was raised in that case to the effect that the persons aimed against in that article were not the girls of the college but the Honorary Secretary of the College and inasmuch as the Honorary Secretary did not file the complaint, the prosecution at the instance of the girls must fail. In support of the plea the argument advanced in that case was that if the articles were defamatory, they applied equally to any one of the girls in the college and no individual girl was defamed thereby. Nor was the College collectively defamed. The view taken by Hon. Kendall J was that all the girls in the college collectively and each girl individually must suffer in reputation on account of the aforesaid article. It is, there fore, clear that defamation of a class or body of persons is also defamation of individual members of that class or body, and a complaint by an individual member of that class or body cannot be said to be not maintainable.

12. In the case of Mahim Chandra Roy v. A.H. Watson : AIR1929Cal191 , the facts were that in the 'Statesman' which was published as an English daily paper at Calcutta, there appeared an article which ran as follows:

The marriage age of the Hindu woman was still between nine and thirteen, the average weight of the Indian baby at birth was hardly over 4 lbs.; the country's widows to the number of nearly 30 millions were regarded as under God's curse, sluts at home and prostitutes abroad; the Indian village was described in a recent Government report as an aggregation of human dwellings situated on a dung hill.

A complaint was filed against Mr. A.H. Watson, editor and printer of the 'Statesman' under Section 500, I.P.C. The complainant alleged that the above imputation was absolutely false and malicious and grossly defamatory, and as several near relations of his were widows, the aforesaid imputation had lowered their reputation and credit as well as those of the complainant in the estimation of others and in consequence the complainant was an aggrieved person. The Police Magistrate who was seized of the matter dismissed the complaint on the observation inter alia that a collection of men or women as such in its corporate character could not complain of any imputation as regards his or her personal reputation and that the class defamed must not be too large, and the expression 'country's widows to the number of nearly 30 millions' was too wide to hurt any one, and thus it ceased to be criminal. The learned Sessions Judge also agreed with the view taken by the Police Magistrate, It was then observed in appeal that the view taken by the two Courts below in that case was incorrect and the case was remitted to the learned Magistrate to give the petitioner an opportunity to produce further evidence, if necessary.

13. I have, therefore, no manner of doubt that dismissal of the complaint under Section 203, Cr.P.C, in this case was unwarranted. Whether ultimately, the complainant succeeds in establishing that harm had been done to him by the article concerned, or he does not succeed in so doing, is a different question. But what is clear to me is, that on facts alleged in the complaint, the complainant could not be non-suited and his complaint could not be dismissed under Section 203, Cr.P.C.

14. The petition in revision is allowed. Order of the learned Magistrate and also that of the Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) are set aside and the case is sent back to the learned Magistrate to proceed with the same and to decide it according to law.


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