K.C. Chunder, J.
1. This is a Rule at the instance of three persons who had been accused under Section 500. Penal Code by the complainant opposite party one Manotosan Roy of having defamed him in an issue of the newspaper, called, the Loke Sevak, dated 20-12-1951.
2. It is said that the opposite party was complained against by one Nirapada Mukherjee of criminal acts in connection with collection of the Bills of Nirapada through the People's Bank of Ghatal, of which Monotosan Roy was the Chairman. A short statement of the complaint as made and the action taken on the same appeared in the Loke Sevak. The Magistrate issued process against Manotosan Roy and others. As an item of news this was published in the newspaper.
3. Manotosan Roy appears to have been very much ill-advised to rush to a Criminal Court on the ground of defamation instead of vindicating himself in the charge that was brought against him. Exception 4 to Section 500 is as follows:
'It is not defamation to publish substantially true report of the proceedings of a Court of justice or of the result of any such proceedings.'
4. The Explanation appended to the Exception will show that the phrase 'Court of justice' has been given a very wide interpretation by the section itself. It is not necessary under this section that the report should even be contemporaneous and there is a reason for it, namely, that Law Books, reports of decisions etc., are not published on the same day, or often verysoon after the delivery of judgments or proceedings in Court. Therefore intentionally such publication has not been required to be made contemporaneous.
5. The first argument of Mr. Debabrata Mukherjee on behalf of the opposite party was that this appeared in the newspaper a few days after the actual filing of the petition of complaint by Nirapada Mukherjee in Court. Apart from the question whether a delayed publication of a mofussil proceeding would be usual, it is enough to say that it is not necessary in law that the proceeding is to be published contemporaneously. The notable trial series has been and is being published long after those notable trials actually took place. All that is required in law is that the publication should be a substantially true report. It need not be true absolutely word per word but taking the whole thing it must be a substantially true account. Something was said about congress and Election and this was irrelevant as good faith has not been made an ingredient in the excepion.
6. In the present case, the actual defect in the report that Mr. Debabrata Mukherjee could point out to show it was not substantially correct was that the embezzled sum which is mentioned in the petition of complaint as Rs. 21,841 has been stated in round figures in the newspaper report to be about Rs. 22,000/-. This does not make the report not a substantially true one. Minor errors are immaterial. The complaint for defamation filed in the Magistrate's Court is a most preposterous proceeding that has been taken and the proceedings are, therefore, quashed.
7. The Rule is made absolute.
8. The accused are discharged from their bail bonds.