Defamation is that offence which is charged on people who try to or tend to create wrong opinion or image of any individual in the eyes of the public. It is a procedure which keeps the check and balance on the people who tend to harm the reputation of other people by keeping an eye on their Right to freedom of Speech and Expression as inculcated in Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
To make sure that this does not happen, that is the reputation and image of the individual is not harmed, there are provisions under the Section 499 and Section 502 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which talks about the defamation and the punishment awarded in this offence.
To mention the actual definition, defamation is charged on peoples who by spoken words or written words, signs or visible gestures creates or publishes any imputation on any person with an intention to harm the reputation of that person and the person who makes such an imputation should have the knowledge or a reason to believe that whatever he or she is saying will ruin the reputation of the other person. Also, some things are important which should be established before charging for the offence of defamation:
It is necessary that the words spoken or written or anything in any matter has the capacity to harm the reputation of the person in any third person’s eyes apart from the person talked about ant the person who is saying.
For a person to be sued for defamation, the publication should be established that is the words spoken or written must have been read or heard or seen the written, spoken, gestured or pictured defamatory words. There will be no defamation if the person only thought about that in his own mind. Therefore, it should be conveyed to the third person in true sense. There are various forms of publication which can take place. They are:
Direct communication- If the person saying bad words or anything which have the capacity to harm the reputation of the person, is directly conveyed to that person only, then it will not constitute as defamation. The reason behind this no one heard. It was direct communication between the person talked about and the person saying it. Except them, no one heard and no reputation was ruined.
By Repetition- To sue for the act of defamation, there is a limited time which the person can take and according to the Limitation Act, 1968 this period is for 1 year and it will renew every time when it will be published. Also, the defamation will be charged every time, the publication takes place.
Printed matters- The publication also takes place when it is printed. It is said that whoever prints information which can ruin an individual’s reputation or defamatory in nature will be awarded punishment. According to the Section 501 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, that person will be sent to jail for maximum of 2 years or fine or both is provided. And according to Section 502, the person who is involved in circulating that defamatory matter who has the reason to believe that the matter which he or she is carrying will ruin someone’s reputation will also be charged with the offence of defamation and the punishment awarded will be imprisonment which can extend to two years or could be fine. In some cases, both will be done.
However, there are exceptions also which is included in the Section in case the person doing it has not done it intentionally and whatever has happened was the accident. But still, the punishment is mentioned in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 if someone ever tries to harm the reputation of the other person because the reputation is something which the individual builds his own life and no one has the right to just come and ruin it.