Defamation From India Penal Code (IPC)

Author: Vaddi Ganga Sri, 3rd year B.A.LLB, Rajiv Gandhi College of Law, Kakinada

*Author has written this article while pursuing training program on article writing by


               A man who criticises one reputation through oral or written is called defamation. Defamation is of two types one is libel and another one is slander. In other words, the injured party can file a suit against the wrong-doer in civil court for damages and can also institute criminal proceedings to publish the wrong-doer.   


               Defamation is defined under section .499 of the Indian penal code. Defamation is the act of communicating false statements. Defamation is an offence under both civil and criminal law. Under both criminal laws, defamation is a bailable, non-cognizable offence and compoundable offence. Hence a policeman arrests only with an arrest warrant issued by a magistrate. Under civil law, defamation is punishable under the law of torts.

Defamation was two types;

  1. Libel
  2. Slander


    It is a kind of defamation that is present in some permanent form such as in writing, printed or a picture.

Slander :

    It is a kind of defamation that is present in an unwritten form such as spoken words, gestures or representation made with hands.


  1. Imputations of truth which public good requires to be made or published.

Explanation: If someone publishes any good matter which is useful to the public, but some of them say that matter has defamed the others, then in that case whether or not it is for the public good is a question of fact.

  • Public conduct of public servant.

Explanation: It is not defamation to express in good faith or respecting the conduct of a public servant in the discharge of his public functions.

  • Conduct of any person touching any public question.

Explanation: it is not defamation if the conduct of any person touching any public question, respecting his character and no further.

  • Caution intended for good of person to whom conveying or for public good.

Explanation; it is not defamation to publish the proceedings of a court of justice.

  • Merits of a case decided in court or conduct of witness and other concerned.

Explanation: it is not defamation whether civil or criminal good faith of any opinion respecting the merits of the case and decided by a court of justice, or any person of the party, witness or agent, in any such case, or respecting the character of such person, and no further.

  • Publication of reports of proceedings of court.

Explanation; it is not defamation respecting the merits of any performance, and respecting the character of the author and no further.

  • Censure passed in good faith by person having lawful authority over another.

Explanation: it is not defamation in a person having over another any authority, to pass in good faith any censure on the conduct of that other in matter.

  • Accusation preferred in good faith to authorised person.

Explanation: it is not defamation to prefer in good faith an accusation against any person to any of those who have lawful authority.

  • Merits of public performance.

Explanation: it is not defamation to make an imputation on the character of another provided that the imputation be made in good faith for the protection of the interest of the person making it.

  1. Imputation made in good faith in person for protection of his or others interests.

Explanation: it is not defamation to convey a caution, in good faith, to one person against another, provided that such caution be intended for the good of the person to whom the is conveyed.


               Whoever defamed another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with a fine or both.


               Whoever when any printed or engraved substances containing defamatory matters. Whether sells or offers for sale, knowing that it shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term.


                When someone prints or engraves any matters, that who publish or who had good reasons from that person but, the matter id defamatory for another person, shall be liable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

ILLUSTRATION: if x, wrote that all doctors were thieves, then no particular doctor could sue him unless there was something that pointed out that the person actually intended to defame him individually.


           The law of defamation seeks to protect the reputation of a person.