A local court has issued notices against Tata Sons former chairman Ratan Tata, present chairman N Chandrasekaran and eight directors of the group along with the group chief operating officer in a defamation complaint filed by Wadia group chairman Nusli Wadia.
The notices were issued by the Esplanade court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate MI Lokwani last Saturday and posted the matter for further hearing on March 25, 2019.
After hearing the arguments, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate MI Lokwani stated in his order,
“It appears that complainant has made out the case against the accused which having substance for the offence of defamation.”
The judge, however, noted that since Tata Sons was a company and not a natural person, an offence of criminal defamation under Section 499 IPC could not be made out against it. In such an instance, the Directors and officers of the company, and not the company itself, may be held liable.
“It appears that Juristic person and artificial person or a Juristic entity is incapable of having any mind and hence question of having such a state of mind cannot arise. It is therefore, such a Juristic person cannot commit an offence of defamation of which mens rea is one of the essential ingredient though the directors and other officers of such company may be liable for committing such offences in certain circumstances…”