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Subramanian Swamy Vs. Union of India (UOI), Ministry of Law and Ors.

Friday, July 14, 2017

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 

Writ Petition (Criminal) Nos. 184 of 2014, 8, 19, 56, 62, 63, 64, 67, 73, 77, 79, 82, 91, 96, 98, 106, 110, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121 of 2015 and Transfer Petition (Criminal) Nos. 102-105 and 94-101 of 2015 (Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India)

 

Decided On: 13.05.2016

 

Hon’ble Judges/Coram:


Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant, JJ.

 

Subramanian Swamy vs. Union of India (UOI), Ministry of Law and Ors.

 

Counsels:
For Appearing Parties: Mukul Rohatgi, AG, P.S. Narasimha, ASG, K. Parasaran, T.R. Andhyarujina, Sr. Advs., (A.C.), Sushil Kumar Jain, P.P. Rao, Kapil Sibal, H.P. Raval, Mahalakshmi Pavani, Sanjay Hegde, Anup J. Bhambani, Rajeev Dhavan, V. Mohana, L. Nageswara Rao, Subramonium Prasad, V. Shekhar, Sidharth Luthra, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, M.N. Krishnamani, K. Radhakrishna, Sr. Advs., Nikhil Swami, Aditi Dani, Ashwin Kumar D.S., Gayathri, Vineet Pandey, Prabha Swami, G.S. Mani, P.K. Tripathy, M.M. Kashyap, Puneet Jain, Pradeep Agarwal, Abhinav Gupta, Manu Maheshwari, Christi Jain, Chhaya Kirti, Pratibha Jain, Chirag M. Shroff, Abhay A. Jena, Ranjit B. Raut, Bina Gupta, Gautam Narayan, G. Balaji, K.C. Mittal, Santosh Krishnan, Tarannum Cheema, Advs. for Karanjawala & Co., Nikhil Goel, Naveen Goel, Marsook Bafaki, Sachin Patil, B.V. Singh, Amit Kumar Pathak, Ruchi Kohli, Ram Sankar, Y. Lokesh, R.V. Kameshwaran, Abhinav Mukerji, Lalit Kumar, Mohit Paul, Apar Gupta, Dushyant Arora, Rizwan, Aruneshwar Gupta, D.K. Singh, Pradeep Shukla, Abhijit Sengupta, Anil Kumar Mishra-I, Snehasish Mukherjee, Pooja Mehra Saigal, Khyati Sharma, Tara Chandra Sharma, Madhavi Divan, Binu Tamta, Sridhar Potraju, B. Ragunath, K. Parmeshwar, Gaichangpou, Gangmei, Arjun Singh, Mukunda Rao Angara, Vishwajit Sadanand, I. Denning Shruti S., Sushma Suri, Gaurav Agrawal, P.N. Puri, M. Yogesh Karma, Jayant Patel, Ashmeet Singh, Tarun Gupta, Supriya Juneja, Anandana Handa, Viraj Gandhi, Mehaak Jaggi, Vinay P. Tripathi, Saurabh Gupta, Bhakti Vardhan Singh, S.S. Shamshery, Anish Kumar Gupta, Anand De, Merusagar Samantaray, Vishnu Shankar Jain, Santosh Kumar, Pattabhi Ram, Apeksha Sharan, Advs. for Cororate Law Group, S.S. Rawat, Ajay Sharma, D.S. Mahra, S. Udaya Kumar Sagar, Krishna Kumar Singh, Balbir Singh Gupta, Mansoor Ali, Rubina Jawed, Mumtaz Bhalla, Abhay Kumar, K.V. Jagdishvaran, G. Indira, Sukumar Pattjoshi, Mahaling Pandarge, Prakash Gautam and Nishant Katneshwarkar, Advs.

 

For Appellant/Petitioner/Plaintiff: Party-in-Person

 

Subject: Criminal

 

Acts/Rules/Orders:


Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (Amendment) Act, 1955; First Constitutional (Amendment) Act; Press and Registration Books Act, 1867 – Section 3, Press and Registration Books Act, 1867 – Section 5, Press and Registration Books Act, 1867 – Section 6, Press and Registration Books Act, 1867 – Section 7, Press and Registration Books Act, 1867 – Section 8; Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) – Section 11, Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) – Section 44, Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) – Section 52, Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) – Section 124A, Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) – Section 292, Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) – Section 295A, Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) – Section 499, Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) – Section 500; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 156(3), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 177, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 178, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 179, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 186, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 199, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 199(1), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 199(2), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 199(3), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 199(4), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 199(5), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 199(6), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 202, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 321, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 482, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) – Section 499; Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 – Section 4; Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 – Section 8B; Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013; Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986; Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989; Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955; Press Council Act, 1978; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Information Technology Act, 2000 – Section 66A, Information Technology Act, 2000 – Section 69A; Uttar Pradesh Special Powers Act – Section 3; Representation of the People Act – Section 123(3A); Indian Succession Act, 1925 – Section 306; Gold Control Act, 1968 – Section 27, Gold Control Act, 1968 – Section 27(6); Orissa Special Courts Act, 2006; Bihar Special Courts Act, 2009 – Section 13, Bihar Special Courts Act, 2009 – Section 13(1); Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) – Section 9; Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000; Constitution of India – Article 13(3), Constitution of India – Article 14, Constitution of India – Article 15(4), Constitution of India – Article 16(4), Constitution of India – Article 17, Constitution of India – Article 19, Constitution of India – Article 19(1), Constitution of India – Article 19(2), Constitution of India – Article 19(3), Constitution of India – Article 21, Constitution of India – Article 23, Constitution of India – Article 24, Constitution of India – Article 29(2), Constitution of India – Article 30(1), Constitution of India – Article 32, Constitution of India – Article 51A, Constitution of India – Article 75, Constitution of India – Article 105, Constitution of India – Article 194, Constitution of India – Article 226, Constitution of India – Article 366(10), Constitution of India – Article 372

 

Authorities Referred:
Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary; Century Dictionary; Corpus Juris Secundum, Vol. 77 at p. 268; Halsburys Laws of England, Fourth Edition, Vol. 28; Kenny’s Outlines of Criminal law, 19th Edition, 1966 by J.W. Cecil Turner; Principles of Statutory Interpretations by G.P. Singh, Eighth Edition, p. 379; Salmon and Heuston on Law of Torts, 25th Ed., p. 138; Salmond & Heuston on the Law of Torts, 20th Edn.

 

Subject Category:


CRIMINAL MATTERS – MATTERS FOR/AGAINST QUASHING OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

 

Disposition:
Disposed off

 

Case Brief:

The present writ petition is preferred to challenge the constitutional validity of the provisions defining the offence ‘defamation’ and providing punishments for the same. Therefore the present concerned bench firstly refer the provisions under challenge and also submissions made by the learned counsels appearing for the parties and submissions made by amicus curiae as to the important concepts of ‘defamation’ and ‘reputation’, delve into the glorious idea of “freedom of speech and expression” and conception of “reasonable restrictions” under the scheme of Constitution of India. The bench further observed that the provisions of section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 providing the offence of Defamation and also the Section 500 of the Code prescribe the punishment for said offence. Similarly, the section 199 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is providing for the prosecution of the defamation.

Moreover, the bench also took note of various international covenants, thoughts of creative individuals, quoting from various ancient books, etc. to understand the concepts of ‘reputation’ and ‘defamation’. Moreover, this bench finally observed that one cannot be unmindful that right to freedom of speech and expression is a highly valued and cherished right but the Constitution conceives of reasonable restriction. In that context criminal defamation as per the provisions of Sections 499 and 500 the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is not a restriction on free speech that can be characterized as disproportionate. Also, this bench saw that the ‘Right to free speech’ cannot mean that a citizen can defame the other. Protection of reputation is a fundamental right. It is also a human right. Cumulatively, it serves the social interest. As such, this bench also observed that, it cannot be accepted that the provisions relating to the Criminal Defamation are not saved by doctrine of proportionality as it determines a limit which is not impermissible within the criterion of reasonable restriction. As such, the constitutional validity of the Section 499 and section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 along with section 199 of Code of Criminal Procedure, was upheld and declared these provisions as constitutionally valid, and also, this bench disposed of the writ petitions accordingly.

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