Charles A. Turner, Kt., C.J.
1. As I understand this case, a panchayit was assembled at the instance of the relatives of the complainant to inquire whether the accused Govindappa Nayak had any justification for applying an injurious epithet to the complainant. Being required to justify himself, Govindappa Nayak made the statement in respect of which defamation is charged and intimated that he had derived his information of the fact from Antoni. Antoni was then sent for and required to justify himself for giving such information. He then made a statement as to circumstances he believed he had witnessed. For the statements made by them on the occasion mentioned, Govindappa and Antoni have been convicted of defamation.
2. I agree with the Sessions Judge that the statements were, on the occasion referred to; privileged. They were made in good faith for the protection of the interests of the persons making them. It being imputed to Govindappa and Antoni by the panchayit that they had defamed the complainant without foundation, they were entitled to defend themselves from that imputation--see Laughton v. The Bishop of Sodor and Man L.R. 4 P.C. 504. I quash the convictions and order that the fines be returned.