1. This is a reference made by Mr. Sunder La, Additional Sessions Judge, Jullundur, asking for setting aside the order of the Magistrate holding that a complaint under Section 500, Penal Code is not maintainable in regard to a statement made in Court even though it be false.
2. The law of defamation is contained in Section 499, Penal Code which also gives the Exceptions. Exception 9 protects a person if he has made in good faith an imputation for the protection of the interest of tried person making it, or of any other person or for the public good.
3. In this case an application was made for appointment of a guardian and imputations were made in the application against the natural guardian, a widowed mother. A witness appeared in support of those allegations. This was a perfectly good 'find for supporting the petition and it would indeed be against public policy if people are not allowed to state what they believe to be true in regard to the facts of a case. As a matter of fact this is also accepted in the Penal Code and Ss. 150 and 151, Evidence Act, and under Section 152, Evidence Act power Is given to the Court to stop questions which are intended to insult or annoy.
I must take it that the Court did allow these questions and therefore I am of the opinion that he case would fall under the rule laid down by he Bombay Court in -- 'Dinshaji Edalji Karkaria v. Jehangir Cowasji Mistrf, AIR 1922 Bom 381 (A), Where it was held that a witness cannot be prose-:uted for defamation in respect of statements made by him when giving evidence in a judicial proceed-ling.. But it was also said in that ruling that this 'protection is not available to a complainant who deliberately makes a defamatory statement without the slightest justification. This case is based on ''-he protection given in Excep. 9 to Section 499, Penal Code.
4. Mr. Durga Dass Khanna has relied on certainMadras cases where a contrary view has been takenbut I prefer to follow the Bombay view becauseif a man is not allowed to speak out the truth ina Court of law under a penalty of being exposed toa prosecution under Section 500 the administration of- justice would indeed become impossible and it wouldbe hampered to such a great extent that nobody'would be prepared to come forward to depose to'facts of which he has knowledge. I would thereforereject this recommendation and discharge the rule.