What is Defamation?

  • August 7, 2017
  • 3:58 am
  • Amanvinod

Defamation is a defamatory statement is one which injures the reputation of another by exposing him to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or which tends to lower him in the esteem of right-thinking members of society.
In general, when one person injured the reputation of another person by any act which can be oral or written. Arvind Kejriwal vs Arun Jaitley & Ors on 19 October, 2016 is a famous case of defamation.

1. The statement must be defamatory.
2. The statement must made against the plaintiff.
3. The statement caused you injury.
4. The statement was false.
5. The statement must be published, i.e. communicated to third party.


1. Slander :- Slander is a defamatory statement in a transient form i.e. not in permanent form, this is in oral form like gesture. In Engalnd, Slander is only a tort, but in India Slander is a crime under Section-499 I.P.C.

2. Libel :- Libel is a defamatory statement in permanent form, for example writing, films, public performances of plays etc. In England, Libel may be prosecuted as a crime as well as a tort, wheras in India, Libel is criminal offence under Section- 499 I.P.C.

With the rise of social media, it’s now easier than ever to make a defamatory statement. That’s because social media services like Twitter and Facebook allow you to instantly “publish” a statement that can reach thousands of people. Whether it’s a disparaging blog post, Facebook status update, or YouTube video, online defamation is treated the same way as more traditional forms. That means you can be sued for any defamatory statements you post online.
Even if a statement is defamatory, there are circumstances in which such statements are permissible in law :-

1. Truth
2. Fair comment on a matter of public interest
3. Innocent dissemination
4. No actual injury

According to the Constitution of India, the fundamental right to free speech (Article 19) is subject to reasonable restrictions. Accordingly, for the purpose of criminal defamation, “reasonable restrictions” are defined in Section 499 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. This section defines Defamation and provides valid exceptions when a statement is not considered to be Defamation. It says that Defamation takes place “by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, to make or publish 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.”

In India, a defamation case can be filed under either criminal law or civil law or Cyber Crime Law, together or in sequence.The punishment for Defamation is a simple imprisonment for up to two years or with fine or with both.