Limitation & Jurisdiction for Defamation under Criminal Act

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					                         G. GURU PRASATH, ADVOCATE, CHENNAI
                                    + 91 99623 17175

      OPINION ON LIMITATION FOR FILING DEFAMATION CASE UNDER
                           CRIMINAL LAW

Query

1) What is the Limitation Period to file a Defamation case under Criminal
   Law in India?

2) What is the Jurisdiction to file a Defamation case under Criminal Law in
   India?

1) Opinion on Limitation

The Limitation for filing a Defamation case under Criminal Law, if the offence is
alleged to have been committed against a person / firm / company other than the
President of India, the Vice-President of India, the Government of a State, the
Administrator of a Union territory or a Minister of the Union or of a State or of a Union
territory, or any other public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the
Union or of a State in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions, is
three years from the day when the right to sue accrues as per Sl.No.113 of Part X of
Schedule I of Limitation Act and Section 468 (2) (c) of Cr.PC,.

Section 499 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) defines the “Defamation”. As per Section
500 of IPC the imprisonment for Defamation may extend to two years.


Section 468 of Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C) defines the bar to taking
cognizance after lapse of the period of limitation. As per Clause (2) (c) of Section
468 of Cr.P.C. the limitation is three years, if the offence is punishable with
imprisonment for a term exceeding one year but not exceeding three years. The said
Limitation is also seen in Sl.No. 113 of Part X of Schedule I of Limitation Act.


As the imprisonment for Defamation may extend to two years as per section 500 of
IPC, a Defamation case under Criminal Law can be filed within a period of three
years from the date of publication of defamatory interviews [(ie.) the day when the
right to sue accrues] as per Section 468(2)(c) and Sl.No. 113 of Part X of Schedule I of
Limitation Act.

2) Opinion on Jurisdiction

As per Section 199(6) of Criminal Procedure Code, any person against whom the
offence is alleged to have been committed shall make a complaint in respect of that
offence before a Magistrate having jurisdiction or the power to take cognizance of
the offence upon Complaint.

Therefore, the either the Magistrate under whose jurisdiction the Complainant has its
registered office or the Magistrate under whose jurisdiction the Accused(s) has its
registered office have jurisdiction or the power to take cognizance of the offence.




                                           1(3)
                            G. GURU PRASATH, ADVOCATE, CHENNAI
                                       + 91 99623 17175


Applicable Acts & Sections

   1) Indian Penal Code – (i) Section 499 and (ii) Section 500
   2) Code of Criminal Procedure – Section 468
   3) Limitation Act – Schedule I Part X, Article 113

1) Indian Penal Code
(i) Section 499 - Defamation

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.

       Explanation 1.--It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a
       deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person
       if living, and is intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other
       near relatives.

       Explanation 2.--It may amount to defamation to make an imputation
       concerning a company or an association or collection of persons as such.

       Explanation 3.--An imputation in the form of an alternative or expressed
       ironically, may amount to defamation.

       Explanation 4.--No imputation is said to harm a person's reputation, unless
       that imputation directly or indirectly, in the estimation of others, lowers the
       moral or intellectual character of that person, or lowers the character of that
       person in respect of his caste or of his calling, or lowers the credit of that
       person, or causes it to be believed that the body of that person is in a
       loathsome state, or in a state generally considered as disgraceful.

(ii) Indian Penal Code – Section 500 - Punishment for defamation

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

2) Criminal Procedure Code
Section 468 - Bar to taking cognizance after lapse of the period of limitation

       (1)      Except as otherwise provided elsewhere in this Code, no Court, shall
                take cognizance of an offence of the category specified in sub-section
                (2), after the expiry of the period of limitation.

       (2) The period of limitation shall be-

             (a) six months, if the offence is punishable with fine only;

             (b) one year, if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term not
             exceeding one year;




                                                2(3)
                       G. GURU PRASATH, ADVOCATE, CHENNAI
                                  + 91 99623 17175

         (c) three years, if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for
         a term exceeding one year but not exceeding three years.

      [(3) For the purposes of this section, the period of limitation, in relation to
      offences which may be tried together, shall be determined with reference to the
      offence which is punishable with the more severe punishment or, as the case
      may be, the most severe punishment.]

3) Limitation Act
PART X--SUITS FOR WHICH THERE IS NO PRESCRIBED PERIOD
Sl.No       Description of Suit       Period of   Time from which period
                                     Limitation         begins to run
113. Any suit for which no period of Three years When the right to sue accrues,
      limitation is provided
      elsewhere in this Schedule.




                                        3(3)

				
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