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B. Thiagaraya Sastri and ors. Vs. G. Krishnasami Aiyar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1892)2MLJ127
AppellantB. Thiagaraya Sastri and ors.
RespondentG. Krishnasami Aiyar
Excerpt:
.....by the tenth exception to section 499, indian penal code, it is not defamation to convey a caution, in good faith, to one person against another, provided that such caution be intended for the good of the person to whom it is conveyed or of some person in whom that person is interested, or for the public good. to bring the case within exception x of section 499, indian penal code, it must be proved that the accused intended, is good faith, to convey a caution to one person against another, that such caution was intended for the good of the person to whom it was conveyed, or for some person in whom that person was interested, or for the public good, and that the caution should be conveyed by proper means. i believe that there was an utter absence of good faith in the proceedings..........or whether the accused can claim the benefit of any of the exceptions to the section. the accused are brahmins, and the complainant is also of that caste. it appears that one akhilandiah, a smarta telugu brahmin, went to england with his wife and family, and by doing so, committed a caste offence. he was therefore expelled from caste under the shastras, for having committed the sin of crossing the sea. the brother-in-law of akhilandiah associated with akhilandiah, and apparently thereby committed an offence against caste. he, however, petitioned and submitted his case to chivukuta krishniah, the elected president of the executive committee, and at a meeting in february 1891, duly convened, it was resolved that devala venkatakrishniah should be re-admitted into caste after.....
Judgment:

Arthur J.H. Collins, Kt. C.J.

1. The accused were convicted of the offence of defamation, under Section 500 of the Indian. Penal Code; and the question. I have to decide is whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction, or whether the accused can claim the benefit of any of the exceptions to the section. The accused are Brahmins, and the complainant is also of that caste. It appears that one Akhilandiah, a Smarta Telugu Brahmin, went to England with his wife and family, and by doing so, committed a caste offence. He was therefore expelled from caste under the Shastras, for having committed the sin of crossing the sea. The brother-in-law of Akhilandiah associated with Akhilandiah, and apparently thereby committed an offence against caste. He, however, petitioned and submitted his case to Chivukuta Krishniah, the elected president of the executive committee, and at a meeting in February 1891, duly convened, it was resolved that Devala Venkatakrishniah should be re-admitted into caste after performing certain expiatory ceremonies. The present accused, however, objected to this, and in August 1891. they published a statement setting forth the facts of the case, the grievous results that must follow it to Brahmins associated in any way with persons interested and naming the complainant as one of the 'sinners' who associated with Devala Venkatakrishniah. A number of copies of this paper containing this statement was distributed to the public by one of the accused in the bazaar. The evidence satisfies me that the word 'Doshi,' a sinner, signifies a person unfit to be associated with and is therefore prima facie clearly defamatory. The Acting Advocate-General for the accused contends that the accused are protected by the tenth exception to Section 499, Indian Penal Code, 'It is not defamation to convey a caution, in good faith, to one person against another, provided that such caution be intended for the good of the person to whom it is conveyed or of some person in whom that person is interested, or for the public good.' The Crown Prosecutor, however, points out that although Devala Venkatakrishniah was re-admitted to caste in February 1891, the statement complained of was made in August 1891, and that the defamatory matter being published and scattered broadcast amongst the people generally, it was not done in good faith, and that the accused being admitted by only a faction of the Brahmins, had no right to act in the way they did. To bring the case within Exception X of Section 499, Indian Penal Code, it must be proved that the accused intended, is good faith, to convey a caution to one person against another, that such caution was intended for the good of the person to whom it was conveyed, or for some person in whom that person was interested, or for the public good, and that the caution should be conveyed by proper means. The defamatory statement was in this case distributed indiscriminately. It cannot be said that it was necessary to caution every Pariah who received a copy of the statement against associating with certain Brahmins, or to inform all Madras that the complainant was a 'Doshi.' It must also be borne in mind that Devala Venkatakrishniah had been re-admitted into caste by, at least, a portion of the Brahmin community, and it would be intolerable to allow a few dissentients to circulate defamatory statements about a person because they believed that in a caste dispute a wrong conclusion was arrived at. I believe that there was an utter absence of good faith in the proceedings the accused chose to take, that the manner in which the publication was made was Unnecessary and in excess of the purpose for which the privilege was allowed, and therefore not protected. In The Queen v Sankara, I. L. R 6 M 381, the Guru of N published a notice declaring N to be an outcaste and sent by post a registered post-card of similar purport to N. It was held by Turner C.J. and Muthusami Aiyar J. that the mode of publication adopted by the defendant, i.e., sending the notice on a post-card, vitiated the privilege and indicated a conscious disregard of the complainant's legal right, and that: therefore legal malice had been made out, and the defendant was guilty of defamation. See also Williamson v Freer, L. R 9 C. P 393 and Somervill v Hawkins 10 C. B 583. It is not suggested that the publication was for the public good. As I find that the accused did not act in good faith, none of the exceptions to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, can protect them. I hold therefore that the conviction was right, and I would dismiss the petition.

Parker, J.

2. I am of opinion that the circulation of the warning to members of the caste would certainly be privileged, and here it was admitted that there was no malice. The evidence however, shows that six hundred copies of Exh. A were struck off and promiscuously distributed to all classes of people in the bazaar. Such a mode of publication would destroy the privilege, since the communication would be made to persons who had no corresponding interest in it, and the mode and extent of the publication would be more injurious to the complainant than necessary. It is then urged by the Acting Advocate-General that all castes are interested that the Brahmins who frequent the temple should not be contaminated, but on reading Exh. A carefully, I do not find it alleged that others than Brahmins were unable to eat the food offered, because some of those to whom chits had been granted were 'sinners.' The Magistrate finds (paragraph 12) that the question only affects the Brahmin class of the Hindu community, and is not one in which the general public is interested. That finding on revision must be accepted. For these reasons, I agree that we should not interfere with the conviction and dismiss the petition.


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