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Thiagaraya and ors. Vs. Krishnasami - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported inILR1893NULL214
AppellantThiagaraya and ors.
RespondentKrishnasami
Cases Referred and Somerville v. Hawkins
Excerpt:
.....and is therefore prima facie clearly defamatory. '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 this case within exception x of section 499 of the indian penal code, it must be proved that the accused intended in 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 convoyed, or of some person in whom that person was interested, or for the public good, and that the caution should be conveyed by the proper means. i believe that there was an utter absence of good faith in the proceedings the..........exception to section 499 of the 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 davalla venkatakrishnayya 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 admittedly only a faction of the brahmans, had no right to act in the way they did. to bring this case within exception x of section 499 of the.....
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 Brahmans, and the complainant is also of that caste. It appears that one Akilandayya, a Smarta Telugu Brahman, 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 Akilandayya associated with Akilandayya, and apparently thereby committed an offence against caste. He, however, petitioned and submitted his case to Chivakalu Krishnayya, the elected president of the executive committee, and, at a meeting in February 1891 duly convened, it was resolved that Davalla Venkatakrishnayya should be readmitted 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 if Brahmans associated in any way with persons outcasted, and naming the complainant as one of the 'sinners' who associated with Davalla Venkatakrishnayya. A number of copies of the 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' or sinner signifies a person unfit to be associated with, and is therefore prima facie clearly defamatory.

2. The Acting Advocate-General for the accused contends that the accused are protected by the tenth exception to Section 499 of the 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 Davalla Venkatakrishnayya 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 admittedly only a faction of the Brahmans, had no right to act in the way they did. To bring this case within exception X of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, it must be proved that the accused intended in 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 convoyed, or of some person in whom that person was interested, or for the public good, and that the caution should be conveyed by the 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 Brahmans, or to inform all Madras that the complainant was a doshi. It must also be borne in mind that Davalla Venkatakrishnayya had been re-admitted into caste by at least a portion of the Brahman 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 Mad. 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.T., and Muttusami Ayyar, 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 Somerville 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 other exceptions to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code can protect them.

3. I hold, therefore, that the conviction was right, and I would dismiss the petition.

Parker, J.

4. I am of opinion that the circulation of the warning to members of the caste would certainly be privileged, and here it is admitted that there was no malice. The evidence, however, shows that six hundred copies of Exhibit 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.

5. It is then urged by the Acting Advocate-General that all castes are interested that the Brahmans who frequent the temple should not be contaminated, but, on reading Exhibit A carefully, I do not find it alleged that others than Brahmans were unable to eat the food offered, because some of those to whom chits had been granted were 'sinners.' The Magistrate finds that the question only affects the Brahman class of the Hindu community, and is not one in which the general public is interested. That finding on revision must be accepted.

6. For these reasons, I agree that we should not interfere with the conviction, and dismiss the petition.


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