B.S. Kapadia, J.
1. The present application is filed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code by the applicant, who is the Editor, Printer and Publisher of a daily newspaper known as 'Jai Hind'. In the issue of Jai Hind dated 21st November 1982 (in the weekly Purti) on page 2 an article on Aya Tolla was published. The heading of the article was 'Was Aya Tolla Khomaini born in India ?'. The copy of the said article is annexed as Annexure A to the petition. On the basis of that article, the opponent No. 1 has filed a complaint under Sections 500 and 501 of the Indian Penal Code in the Court of the learned Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Rajula which is numbered as Criminal Case No. 886/82. The learned Magistrate took cogniance of the said complaint and issued process against the applicant.
2. In this petition, the petitioner has submitted, that there is not even a single word in the article which is defamatory and the entire complaint is filed only with a view to harass the petitioner who is a bold journalist. The petitioner further submits that even if the article contains some remarks which can be called to he defamatory of Aya Tolla, even then the petitioner has no right to file the present complaint. It is also submitted that in view of the provision contained in Section 199(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code the learned Magistrate should not have taken cognisance of the complaint and therefore, there is abuse of process against the petitioner in taking cognizance of the said complaint as well as in issuing process against him.
3. In the complaint copy of which is annexed with the petition, it is averred that the complainant is of 'Shia Irna Mazhab' and there is a Society in the name of 'Khoja Ashkari Jamaat' of which petitioner is one of the trustees. According to him, he is the respected man residing in the Village Rajula and Aya Tolla is the religious head of high cadre, and that in his support they are taking processions and shouting slogans. According to the complainant he is also keeping the photograph of Aya Tolla at his residence and at his shop. According to the complainant, the said article was maliciously published in Jai Hind newspaper and that has defamed Aya Tolla as well as his followers and as a follower the complainant was also defamed. It may he stated that certain quotations are taken from the said article and pointed out that they are false and defamatory.
4. On perusal of the whole article, it is clear that the said article is fully on Aya Tolla Khomaini. It contains certain criticism with regard to his political actions. It also contains some averments with regard to his family life. There are also certain allegations with regard to corrupt practice and nepitism and there is some comment that he did not give interview to the visitors and ultimately It is concluded that the financial condition of Iran has deteriorated and political instability is at highest in Iran.
5. Thus, from reading the article carefully, it is seen that there are no direct allegations either against the petitioner personally or the allegations are aimed against him. On this point Mr. H. K. Thakore, the learned Advocate appearing for the petitioner has pointed out the judgment in the case of Dhirendranath Sen and Anr. v. Rajat Kanti Bhadra : AIR1970Cal216 . It has been held in the said case that 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 or he is the person aimed at, before 'he can maintain a prosecution for defamation. In short, the grievance of the complainant should not merely be the one shared by every member of an organised society.
6. Where, therefore, the editor of a paper writes an editorial which is highly 'defamatory of the spiritual head of a certain community, an individual of that community is not an aggrieved per on within the meaning of Section 198, Criminal P.C. The mere fact that the feelings of the complainant have been injured in consequence of a defamatory statement made against his religious head, affords him no ground under the law to prosecute accused for defamation. The said judgment has been subsequently followed in the case of Ganesh Nand Chela v. Swami Divyanand 1980 Criminal Law Journal page 1036. After following the ratio of the aforesaid judgment, the learned Judge of the Delhi High Court held that 'In the facts and circumstances of the present case, the complainant has not been able to prove that the above imputations are against him personally or that he is the person aimed at. It can, therefore, be held that he is not an aggrieved person within the ambit of Section 199(1) of the Code...' Applying the said test in the present case it may be stated that though the article is in respect of the actions taken by Aya Tolla and the comments made against him with regard to his family conduct and also political actions, there is no allegation either personally against or aimed at the complainant or any member of the Khoja Ashkari Jamaat, Rajula, who are the alleged followers of Aya Tolla Khomaini. In that view of the matter it cannot be said that the complainant though he is the trustee of that Jamaat is a person aggrieved, who can file the complaint under Section 199(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
7. In that view of the matter the proceedings in the Criminal Case No. 886/82 in the Court of the learned Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Rajula are hereby quashed. Rule made absolute.