Krishnaswamy Reddy, J.
1. This appeal has been preferred by the complainant against the order of acquittal of the respondents, by the District Magistrate, Thanjavur.
2. I have gone through the judgment of the learned District Magistrate and also the evidence, documents and other materials in this case and I do not find any compelling reason to interfere with the order of acquittal, especially when there is a dispute about the paternity, which could ultimately be settled by a competent Civil Court.
3. The appellant filed a private complaint against the respondents alleging that though he was the son of the first respondent by his second wife, respondents 2 and 3 who are the sons-in-law of the first respondent, with the connivance of the first respondent had got printed and published an advertisement in the Tamil Daily Newspaper known as 'Malai Murasu', wherein the first respondent had repudiated the paternity of the appellant and his brothers and stated that they were the children of one V. Muthurasu Chettiar and that they were all pretenders. This publication was made on 9-9-1970 at the front page prominently. It is the case of the appellant that by publishing such an advertisement, the respondents had defamed him (the appellant) and his brothers. It was also alleged that respondents 2 and 3 with the connivance of the first respondent printed leaflets in the printing press of the fourth respondent repudiating the paternity of the appellant and his brothers, and distributed the leaflets. It is also averred in the complaint that this publication was made just on the eve of the celebration of the marriage of the brother of the appellant, Chandraha-san with one Selvi Mahalakshmi in Swami-nathaswami Temple at Swamimalai.
4. The respondents contended that the appellant was not the son of the first respondent and that lot of oral and documentary evidence had been let in to prove the respective contentions. It is not necessary for me to refer to that evidence and the documents as the learned District Magistrate has fully discussed the evidence, both oral and documentary. It is fairly a well-written judgment. I do not want to go into the question whether the appellant was the son of the first respondent as this is a matter which has to be ultimately decided by a competent Civil Court, as already pointed out by me.
5. But the real question is whether the dispute of paternity ipso facto will amount to per se defamation. It would depend upon the facts and circumstances of the case. It is admitted by the appellant that an invitation was printed in respect of the marriage of his brother Chandrahasan with one Mahalakshmi in Swaminathaswmi Temple at Swamimalai. This invitation must have been printed somewhere before 11-9-1970 as the marriage was to be celebrated on that day. This invitition has been issued under the name of the first respondent as the father of the said Chandrahasan. On seeing this invitation, the first respondent, and respondents 2 and 3 who are the sons-in-law of the first respondent had reacted to the invitation immediately and advertised in 'Malai Murasu' and also printed leaflets disputing the paternity of Chandrahasan to the first respondent. The first respondent denied that Chandrahasan was born to him and also stated that he never caused the marriage invitation to be issued under his name. In this background, the provocation for the respondents coming forward disputing the paternity, was the marriage invitation, wherein the first respondent was mentioned as the father of Chandrahasan. Even assuming the dispute by the first respondent about the paternity of Chandrahasan and consequently the paternity of the appellant to be false, yet, it is quite natural in a dispute like this for the opposite party to come with a defence of this nature. In those circumstances, it may be even stated that the opposite party is invited to make such a statement by printing the marriage invitation under the name of the first respondent. In these circumstances, it cannot be said that the publication made either in 'Malai Murasu' or the leaflets which were alleged to have been printed at the printing press of the fourth respondent were with the intention to defame the appellant. The learned District Magistrate, in my opinion, has rightly found that the appellant has not made out a case of defamation against the respondents.
6. In the result, the appeal is dismissed. But, however, I make it clear that the question of paternity is left open and it is for the parties concerned to agitate this matter in a competent Court.