Defamation: Meaning, Essentials, Defences, and Position in India


Haven't we often wondered while reading the news, or while watching any form of content on the internet or TV, whether, the plethora of false statements constantly made by various personalities, the various accusations, and other such verbal assault, punishable or not?

Well, the answer is YES. In legal terms, such actions are called Defamatory Remarks or Defamation. Let us understand what it means.


Any purposeful false communication, either composed or spoken, that harms an individual's standing, diminishes the regard, respect, or trust in which an individual is held, or prompts unfriendly or obnoxious sentiments or sentiments against an individual is called DEFAMATION.

Defamation is an injury to the standing of an individual. It is a wrong done by an individual to another's standing by words, composed or spoken, sign or other noticeable portrayals.

In the expressions of Dr. Winfield-

Defamation is the publication of a statement which tends to lower a person in the estimation of right-thinking members of the society, generally or which tends to make them avoid that person.


A distributes an ad in a local newspaper expressing fake data that the organization of B has submitted extortion of Rs 20,00,000. Presently, this assertion will add up to defamation as this paper will be read by numerous readers and will doubtlessly harm the reputation of B's organization.


Generally, there are two kinds of defamation: Libel and Slander.

1. Libel

It refers to defamation made in some permanent form, for example in composed, printed, or comparable way. In this manner, it very well may be said that it will remain as long as the sculpture or picture remains on.

For an activity to be considered as a criticism the verification in conflict ought to be demonstrated as defamatory, false, disclosed, or recorded as a hard copy.

The remark that defamatory made ought to be straightforwardly or by implication alluded to the offended party. Moreover, this remark ought to likewise draw a sensible association between the remark and the individual.

Even though it's anything but fundamental that an individual ought to be named explicitly nor is the goal of that respondent. However, criticism can't be made against a class or a perished individual like specialists.

2. Slander

It refers to the form of defamation that is transient in nature, for example, oral criticism i.e defamation. Subsequently, for this situation, the impact of criticism is considered to remain alive for the time frame of remark or activity.

Slander is a common wrong, and exceptional harm must be demonstrated in instances of defamation. Slander can likewise occur such that will intently address defamation.

For instance, when you direct some abusive remarks to your representative who thusly types it's anything but a letterhead the correspondence that will occur for the third individual through the discourse.


There are three main essentials of Defamation:

1. The statement must be published:

The main fundamental of defamation is the distribution of the defamatory substance to an outsider. Except if there is a distribution of the assertion, no activity lies. Be that as it may, assuming a third individual improperly peruses a letter implied for the offended party, the respondent prone to be obligated.

However, if the defamatory letter shipped off the offended party is probably going to be perused by another person, there will be a legitimate distribution.

In the case of Mahendra Ram v. Hamandan Prasad, the respondent had sent a letter in Urdu regardless of knowing the way that the offended party couldn't understand Urdu and the letter would need to be in the long run perused by another person or an outsider. The respondent was expected to take responsibility for the offense of defamation.

2. The statement must be defamatory:

Defamation is a public correspondence that will in general harm the reputation of another. The type of articulations that are defamatory and the range of guards differs from purview, however, there is a normal arrangement in all wards that explanations that are unflattering, irritating, humiliating, or hurt one's sentiments are not noteworthy.

In the case of Ram Jethmalani v. Subramanian Swamy court held Dr. Swamy to be at risk for defaming Mr. Jethmalani by saying that he got cash from a prohibited association to ensure the then CM of Tamil Nadu on account of the death of Rajiv Gandhi.

In another new instance of Arun Jaitley v Arvind Kejriwal, the court held the articulation said by Arvind Kejriwal and his 5 different pioneers to be defamatory. Be that as it may, the matter was at long last revealed after every one of the litigants apologized for their activities.

3. The statement must refer to the plaintiff: