Case List: Defamation


  1. Statement must be defamatory (in the right-thinking member of society);
    • Hartt vs. Newspaper Publishing Plc., Transcript No. 1015; Unreported, 26 October 1989
    • D.P. Choudhary and Ors. vs. Kumari Manjulata,  AIR 1997 Raj 170
    • SNM Abdi vs. Prafulla Kr. Mahanta and Ors.AIR 2002 Gau 75
    • South Indian RailwayCo. vs. RamakrishnaILR (1890) 13 Mad 34
    • Monson vs. Tussauds, [1894] 1 QB 671
    • Youssoupoff vs. Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer Pictures Ltd. (1934) 50 TLR 581
    • Lewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd. [1964] AC 23
  2. Statement must refer to the Plaintiff, and
    • Morgan vs. Odhams Press [1971] 1 WLR 1239
    • E. Hulton and Co. vs. Jones1910 AC 20
  3. Statement must be published
    • Byrne vs. Deane [1937] 1 KB 818


Unlike UK, in India, there is no liability for statements published innocently.

  • T.V. Ramasubha Iyer v. A.M.A. Mohindeen, AIR 1972 Mad 398
  • E. Hulton and Co. vs. Jones1910 AC 20
  • Newstead v. London Express, [1940] 1 KB 371

Publication must be intelligible to a third person.

  • Mahendra Ram v. Harnandan Prasad, AIR 1958 Pat 445 248


  • Defaming a deceased is not a tort; but under criminal law, defamation, if intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family and near relatives can amount of defamation.
  • There is no publication between the spouses.
  • Defence of fair comment and qualified privilege is not applicable if ‘malice’ is present.


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