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Adapala Adivaramma Vs. Rabala Ramachandra Reddy - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1910)21MLJ85
AppellantAdapala Adivaramma
RespondentRabala Ramachandra Reddy
Cases ReferredGanesh Dutt Singh v. Mugneeram Chowdry
Excerpt:
- - this doctrine of absolute privilege applies to affidavits as well as to oral evidence as stated by chief baron willy in the house of lords dawkins v. it is further well settled that in order to protect the statement made by witnesses it is not necessary that they should be absolutely relevant. but the balance of authority in this court appears to be that they are and in any case, there is a very strong body of authority in this court going to show that witnesses must be held absolutely privileged in civil actions for defamation......there is no difference in this respect, in my opinion, between evidence given in the box and the evidence on affidavit. this doctrine of absolute privilege applies to affidavits as well as to oral evidence as stated by chief baron willy in the house of lords dawkins v. lord rokeby (1875) l.r. 7 h.l. 744 and seaman v. netherclift (1876) 1 l.r. 540. it is laid down that it is almost impossible to conceive a statement in an affidavit which should not be privileged. it is further well settled that in order to protect the statement made by witnesses it is not necessary that they should be absolutely relevant. it may be that witnesses who tender defamatory statements in the box which have no earthly connection with the case may not be privileged. but it cannot be said that statements made in.....
Judgment:

Wallis, J.

1. This is an action for damages. The plaintiff was appointed guardian of the person, and the defendant guardian of the property, of the minor. Subsequently on the plaintiff's application the defendant was removed from the guardianship of the property. He then preferred an appeal to this Court and applied for stay of execution and filed an affidavit in support of that application. In answer to that affidavit, the plaintiff died a counter-affidavit and in answer to the counter-affidavit the defendant filed a reply affidavit in which he made statements reflecting on the character of the plaintiff which, unless privileged, were undoubtedly defamatory, and which, for the purpose of this judgment, must be taken to have been made both falsely and maliciously. Even so, I am of opinion that no civil action will lie. It is laid down by the Privy Council in Ganesh Dutt Singh v. Mugneeram Chowdry (1872) 11 B.L.R. 321 that 'witnesses cannot be sued in a civil court for damages, in respect of evidence given by them upon oath in a judicial proceedig.' Now there is no difference in this respect, in my opinion, between evidence given in the box and the evidence on affidavit. This doctrine of absolute privilege applies to affidavits as well as to oral evidence as stated by Chief Baron Willy in the House of Lords Dawkins v. Lord Rokeby (1875) L.R. 7 H.L. 744 and Seaman v. Netherclift (1876) 1 L.R. 540. It is laid down that it is almost impossible to conceive a statement in an affidavit which should not be privileged. It is further well settled that in order to protect the statement made by witnesses it is not necessary that they should be absolutely relevant. It may be that witnesses who tender defamatory statements in the box which have no earthly connection with the case may not be privileged. But it cannot be said that statements made in an affidavit, which was in answer to an affidavit made by the plaintiff, reflecting upon the character of the defendant, were utterly irrelevant to the proceeding. There has no doubt been a difference of view, in the courts in India more especially, with regard to the question whether the statements by witnesses are absolutely privileged in a prosecution for defamation under the Penal Code. But the balance of authority in this Court appears to be that they are and in any case, there is a very strong body of authority in this Court going to show that witnesses must be held absolutely privileged in civil actions for defamation. I may refer to the judgment of Mr. Justice Shephard in Mangayya v. Sesha Chetty I.L.R. (1888) M. 477 which recites and follows the decision of the Privy Council in Ganesh Dutt Singh v. Mugneeram Chowdry (1872) 11 B.L.R. 321. I may also refer to the judgment of Mr. Justice Subrahmanya Aiyar in the case which is reported in Weir's Crl. Rulings, Vol. I, p. 561, though I think that was a criminal case. Mr. Seshagiri Iyer has also called our attention to the fact that this case is brought on the original side of this court, and in the Presidency town, where in a matter of this sort the Common Law prevails. Apart from this, I think there is abundant authority that this suit is not maintainable and it must be accordingly dismissed with costs.


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