• Defamation notice received for complaint made to government

Hi
Two months back high court ordered shifting of all liquor shops along national and state highway side.There was a proposal to shift a foreign liquor shop of govt of Kerala opposite to my house to a new building. I understand local bevco officials visited the site.also the site owner personally told my brother about this proposal.  the coming of this shop will seriously affect my families free movment and security.hence i imediately complained to panchayath. Also other 12 families made a mass petition their own also a nearby penthacoth church made a complaint through their pastor
Later his proposal didn't moved much forward officially .now the site owner sent me a defamation letter asking compensation of 5 lacs as my complaint is baseless .I havent made any libel or slander but complained to the govt against the possible menace 
Under good intention. Is this a valid case.should I reply to the advocate letter
Asked 2 years ago in Criminal Law from Kottayam, Kerala
1. For bringing the charge of defamation, the act requires publising defamatory matters through press or other means,

2. In your case you have just lodged your complaint before the competent authority who have acted favourably on receipt of your complaint,

3. Under no circumstances, your complaint can be called as act of defamation,

4. Reply to the said notice accordingly preferably with the help of a lawyer.
Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
12084 Answers
228 Consultations
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1. The issue raised by you in the complaint related to public interest which must prevail over individual interest. You have not committed any defamation. The law of defamation is not meant to quell the right of a person to make genuine representations touching upon matters of public interest to the government.

2. Your complaint cannot be termed defamatory by any stretch of imagination. So relax.

3. Reply through your lawyer to the lawyer's notice received from his lawyer.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18088 Answers
447 Consultations
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1. Legally speaking, the site owner can in spite of your reply file a case for defamation against you and other signatories in the court, in which event the court will decide the case on the merits. You can challenge the summons in the High Court.

2. There will be no hassles in travelling abroad even if you are dragged to the court by him. It is not a murder charge you will be facing.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18088 Answers
447 Consultations
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1. No case of defamation lies out of complaint lodged with public authority.
2. In this case hence case for defamation do not lie. If it is a civil defamation then file petition for ' rejection of plaint'. If it is criminal defamation then file ' quashing petition' in high court.
3. You can file writ petition in high court also to shift or close the existing shop.
4. No problem would be there for your foreign travel.
Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
5186 Answers
54 Consultations
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Considering the facts stated by you, it doesn't seem to come under the definition as provided under the Indian Penal Code for defamation. There was nothing published by you in the newspaper or you did not speak openly about the same. Further, the other complaints filed cannot be linked to you. the complaints were filed independent of your complaint and views regarding the site owner. In any case if the defamation suit is filed, you cannot be estopped from travelling abroad.
Shaveta Chaudhary (Sanghi)
Advocate, Chandigarh
821 Answers
60 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Dear Querist
there is no defamation case has been made out against you or another three person as per the definition of the Defamation which is define u/s 499 of IPC, read the section below:

499. Defamation.—Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person. 
Explanation 1.—It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person if living, and is intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives. 
Explanation 2.—It may amount to defamation to make an imputation concerning a company or an association or collection of persons as such. 
Explanation 3.—An imputation in the form of an alternative or expressed ironically, may amount to defamation. Explanation 4.—No imputation is said to harm a person’s reputa­tion, unless that imputation directly or indirectly, in the estimation of others, lowers the moral or intellectual character of that person, or lowers the character of that person in respect of his caste or of his calling, or lowers the credit of that person, or causes it to be believed that the body of that person is in a loathsome state, or in a state generally considered as disgrace­ful. Illustrations
(a) A says—“Z is an honest man; he never stole B’s watch”; in­tending to cause it to be believed that Z did steal B’s watch. This is defamation, unless it fall within one of the exceptions.
(b) A is asked who stole B’s watch. A points to Z, intending to cause it to be believed that Z stole B’s watch. This is defama­tion unless it fall within one of the exceptions.
(c) A draws a picture of Z running away with B’s watch, intending it to be believed that Z stole B’s watch. This is defamation, unless it fall within one of the exceptions.
 First Exception.—Imputation of truth which public good requires to be made or published.—It is not defamation to impute anything which is true concerning any person, if it be for the public good that the imputation should be made or published. Whether or not it is for the public good is a question of fact. 
Second Exception.—Public conduct of public servants.—It is not defamation to express in a good faith any opinion whatever re­specting the conduct of a public servant in the discharge of his public functions, or respecting his character, so far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further.
 Third Exception.—Conduct of any person touching any public question.—It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion whatever respecting the conduct of any person touching any public question, and respecting his character, so far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further. Illustration It is not defamation in A to express in good faith any opinion whatever respecting Z’s conduct in petitioning Government on a public question, in signing a requisition for a meeting on a public question, in presiding or attending a such meeting, in forming or joining any society which invites the public support, in voting or canvassing for a particular candidate for any situa­tion in the efficient discharges of the duties of which the public is interested.
 Fourth Exception.—Publication of reports of proceedings of Courts.—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.
 Explanation.—A Justice of the Peace or other officer holding an inquiry in open Court preliminary to a trial in a Court of Jus­tice, is a Court within the meaning of the above section.
 Fifth Exception.—Merits of case decided in Court or conduct of witnesses and others concerned.—It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion whatever respecting the merits of any case, civil or criminal, which has been decided by a Court of Justice, or respecting the conduct of any person as a party, witness or agent, in any such case, or respecting the character of such person, as far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further. Illustrations
(a) A says—“I think Z’s evidence on that trial is so contradic­tory that he must be stupid or dishonest”. A is within this exception if he says this is in good faith, in as much as the opin­ion which he expresses respects Z’s character as it appears in Z’s conduct as a witness, and no further.
(b) But if A says—“I do not believe what Z asserted at that trial because I know him to be a man without veracity”; A is not within this exception, in as much as the opinion which he express of Z’s character, is an opinion not founded on Z’s conduct as a witness. 
Sixth Exception.—Merits of public performance.—It is not defa­mation to express in good faith any opinion respecting the merits of any performance which its author has submitted to the judgment of the public, or respecting the character of the author so far as his character appears in such performance, and no further. Explanation.—A performance may be substituted to the judgment of the public expressly or by acts on the part of the author which imply such submission to the judgment of the public. Illustrations
(a) A person who publishes a book, submits that book to the judgment of the public.
(b) A person who makes a speech in public, submits that speech to the judgment of the public.
(c) An actor or singer who appears on a public stage, submits his acting or signing in the judgment of the public.
(d) A says of a book published by Z—“Z’s book is foolish; Z must be a weak man. Z’s book is indecent; Z must be a man of impure mind”. A is within the exception, if he says this in good faith, in as much as the opinion which he expresses of Z respects Z’s character only so far as it appears in Z’s book, and no further.
(e) But if A says—“I am not surprised that Z’s book is foolish and indecent, for he is a weak man and a libertine”. A is not within this exception, in as much as the opinion which he expresses of Z’s character is an opinion not founded on Z’s book. 
Seventh Exception.—Censure passed in good faith by person having lawful authority over another.—It is not defamation in a person having over another any authority, either conferred by law or arising out of a lawful contract made with that other, to pass in good faith any censure on the conduct of that other in matters to which such lawful authority relates. Illustration A Judge censuring in good faith the conduct of a witness, or of an officer of the Court; a head of a department censuring in good faith those who are under his orders; a parent censuring in good faith a child in the presence of other children; a school-master, whose authority is derived from a parent, censuring in good faith a pupil in the presence of other pupils; a master censuring a servant in good faith for remissness in service; a banker censur­ing in good faith the cashier of his bank for the conduct of such cashier as such cashier—are within this exception. 
Eighth Exception.—Accusation preferred in good faith to autho­rised person.—It is not defamation to prefer in good faith an accusation against any person to any of those who have lawful authority over that person with respect to the subject-matter of accusation. Illustration If A in good faith accuse Z before a Magistrate; if A in good faith complains of the conduct of Z, a servant, to Z’s master; if A in good faith complains of the conduct of Z, and child, to Z’s father—A is within this exception. 
Ninth Exception.—Imputation made in good faith by person for protection of his or other’s interests.—It is not defamation to make an imputation on the character of another provided that the imputation be made in good faith for the protection of the inter­ests of the person making it, or of any other person, or for the public good. Illustrations
(a) A, a shopkeeper, says to B, who manages his business—“Sell nothing to Z unless he pays you ready money, for I have no opin­ion of his honesty”. A is within the exception, if he has made this imputation on Z in good faith for the protection of his own interests.
(b) A, a Magistrate, in making a report of his own superior offi­cer, casts an imputation on the character of Z. Here, if the imputation is made in good faith, and for the public good, A is within the exception. 
Tenth Exception.—Caution intended for good of person to whom conveyed or for public good.—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. COMMENTS Imputation without publication In section 499 the words “makes or publishes any imputation” should be interpreted as words supple­menting to each other. A maker of imputation without publication is not liable to be punished under that section; Bilal Ahmed Kaloo v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (1997) 7 Supreme Today 127.
Nadeem Qureshi
Advocate, New Delhi
3523 Answers
130 Consultations
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there is no restriction on your abroad visit, it is your fundamental right as provided by indian Constitution.
Nadeem Qureshi
Advocate, New Delhi
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130 Consultations
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first of all there must be a judgement of court that your allegation is baseless. if you have prima fecei resonable ground to believe that liquor shop can cause disturbance in life then you shall not be prosecuted for defamation case on furnishing baseless allegation. defamation is bailable offence and it can't restrict you to go abroad. you can file application uder section 205 of cr.p.c. for dispense of personal appearance in the court.
Shivendra Pratap Singh
Advocate, Lucknow
2735 Answers
41 Consultations
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