CrPC Section 199: Prosecution for Defamation – Explained

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CrPC Section 199: Prosecution for Defamation – Explained

1. The Code

Section 199 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) deals with the prosecution for defamation.

2. Explanation

This section lays down specific requirements for initiating a criminal prosecution for defamation. It states that:

  • No court shall take cognizance of an offense punishable under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (defamation) except upon a complaint made by the person defamed.
  • However, in certain cases, the court can take cognizance even without a complaint, such as when the defamation is against the government, a public servant in the discharge of their duties, or the administration of justice.
  • If the person defamed dies before making a complaint, the court can take cognizance upon a complaint made by the legal representative of the deceased.

3. Illustration

Imagine someone writes an article accusing a politician of corruption. The politician feels defamed. To initiate a criminal case, they must file a complaint under Section 199 of CrPC. The court will then decide whether to take cognizance of the case based on the evidence provided.

4. Common Questions and Answers

Here are some common questions and answers regarding Section 199 of CrPC:

  • Q: What is the difference between civil and criminal defamation?
  • A: Civil defamation deals with reputational harm, and the remedy is usually monetary compensation. Criminal defamation is a criminal offense, and the punishment can include imprisonment.
  • Q: Can a government official file a complaint under Section 199 for defamation against a citizen?
  • A: Yes, but only if the defamation is related to their official duties. For other matters, they must file a complaint as an individual.
  • Q: What are the exceptions to the requirement of a complaint under Section 199?
  • A: The exceptions include defamation against the government, public servants, and the administration of justice.
Also Read  CrPC Section 143: Magistrate's Power to Prohibit Public Nuisance
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