Defamation

Legal Fact

Defamation

Defamation is amongst the most common legal term we hear every day . In India the defamation is defined in Section 499 of Indian Penal code ""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"".

The term "defamation" is an all-encompassing term that covers any statement that hurts someone"s reputation. If the statement is made in writing and published, the defamation is called "libel." If the hurtful statement is spoken, the statement is "slander." The government can"t imprison someone for making a defamatory statement since it is not a crime. Instead, defamation is considered to be a civil wrong, or a tort. A person that has suffered a defamatory statement may sue the person that made the statement under defamation law.

For it , is important  the act of making untrue statements about another which damages his/her reputation. If the defamatory statement is printed or broadcast over the media it is libel and, if only oral, it is slander. Public figures, including officeholders and candidates, have to show that the defamation was made with malicious intent and was not just fair comment. Damages for slander may be limited to actual (special) damages unless there is malice. Some statements such as an accusation of having committed a crime, having a feared disease or being unable to perform one"s occupation are called libel per se or slander per se and can more easily lead to large money awards in court and even punitive damage recovery by the person harmed. Most states provide for a demand for a printed retraction of defamation and only allow a lawsuit if there is no such admission of error.

Elements of a Defamation

1 . Someone made a statement;
2 . That statement was published;
3 . The statement caused you injury;
4 . The statement was false; and
5 . The statement did not fall into a privileged category.
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