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A.K. Gopalan Vs. V. Mariarputham - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1962CriLJ644
AppellantA.K. Gopalan
RespondentV. Mariarputham
Cases ReferredBhola Nath v. Emperor
Excerpt:
- - if we may say go with respect the proposition is a sound one which can well be accepted by any court. hence any evidence that would indicate tie went of bona fides on the part of the complainant or the character and antecedents of the complainant has very little relevancy in deciding the issues in the case and so the learned counsel was perfectly justified, in not pursuing the matter further......the charge against him was that be defamed shri v. mariarputham, officiating superintendent of police in a speech made by him at the kidangamparambu maidan, allepy en 23.10.1958 on the 'vayalar-punnappra marty's' day. the accused is alleged to have dwelt upon the police firing at munnar and stated that shri mariarputham accepted bribes from tile estate owners to please whom he ordered firing. the offending speech was published in a leading malayalam daily paper the kerala kaumudi. the portion of the report containing the alleged defamatory imputations is marked as ext. p-2 and is in brief to the following effect-shri mariarputham a police officer is siding by the old traditions of the police in accepting bribes from the capitalists and molesting the labourers. many more mariarputhams.....
Judgment:

Anna Chandy, J.

1. The Revision Petitioner Shri A.K. Gopalan was convicted Of the offence of defamation under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 500/- by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Alleppy, His appeal to the Sessions Judge was dismissed and he has now moved this Court in revision.

2. The charge against him was that be defamed Shri V. Mariarputham, Officiating Superintendent of Police in a speech made by him at the Kidangamparambu Maidan, Allepy en 23.10.1958 on the 'Vayalar-Punnappra Marty's' Day. The accused is alleged to have dwelt upon the police firing at Munnar and stated that Shri Mariarputham accepted bribes from tile estate owners to please whom he ordered firing. The offending speech was published in a leading Malayalam daily paper The Kerala Kaumudi. The portion of the report containing the alleged defamatory imputations is marked as Ext. P-2 and is in brief to the following effect-

Shri Mariarputham a Police Officer is siding by the old traditions of the police in accepting bribes from the capitalists and molesting the labourers. Many more Mariarputhams of this type are in the police department. Such Mariarputhams should not only be dismissed from service but should be clapped behind iron bars.

Aggrieved at this attempt to defame him the complainant issued a lawyer's notice to the accused to which he got a reply which he did not fine satisfactory and so the matter was brought to Court, The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge and denied haying made any personal imputations against the complainant though he admitted that he had criticised the police in general 'and their handling of the strike situation at Munnar in particular.

3. Only one ground was seriously urged in the revision. It was argued that the offending speech was not proved in Court by the witnesses repeating the identical words uttered by the accused or even words analogous to those of tin accused but the evidence given by them is only about the impression created in their mind by the speech. This contention is evidently inspired by the decision of the Allahabad High Court in Bhola Nath v. Emperor AIR 1929 All In that case Mukerji J., observed that:

Where the question arises as the whether the words used were intended to harm or had the effect of harming the reputation, tie Court must be put in possession not only of the worth used but also of the contest in which they were used, in order to find the intention and the effect of the Words. If the Court would accept instead of the words and the context, the impression left on the minds of the witnesses' it will be yielding its duty to witnesses with the result that the accused person will have no benefit of the opinion of the Court itself.

If we may say go with respect the proposition is a sound one which can well be accepted by any Court. However, we do not think it be of any help to the accused here. Here five witnesses among whom were the correspondent and agent of the 'Kerala Kaumudi' in which the offending speech was reported, the correspondent of another paper and a practising advocate all swear that the accused stated that Shri Mariarputham had given the order to shoot on accepting bribes from the, estate owners and that he should not only be dismissed from service but be sent to prison. This was the speech made by the accused and not the 'impression left on the minds of the Witnesses' by the speech.

4. There is no universal rule that in a case of this nature the accused cannot be convicted unless the actual words used by him are proved. It is enough if the witnesses are agreed in a substantial measure on the words of imputation uttered. It is not necessary to reproduce every word or expression. All the witnesses have uniformly given evidence that the petitioner did mention in his speech that the complainant received bribes. Their evidence has been accepted by two courts and there is no going back on it in revision.

5. The other point urged before us, though rather faintly, was that the finding of the Courts that the file relating to the recommendation of the State Government to the Union Government to raise the complainant to the I.P.S Cadre and the papers relating to a then pending anti-corruption enquiry against him are privilaged documents, is erroneous. According to the defence these papers were called for to support its case that the complaint is lacking in bona fides and was filed to exert pressure on the Government to recommend the complainant to the I.P.S. Cadre also to establish the character and antecedents of the complainant.

The speech is per se defamatory and the plea of the accused is that he did not make the speech. Hence any evidence that would indicate tie went of bona fides on the part of the complainant or the character and antecedents of the complainant has very little relevancy in deciding the issues in the case and so the learned Counsel was perfectly justified, in not pursuing the matter further.

6. The conviction and sentence are confirmed and this revision petition is dismissed.


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