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Kerala High Court quashes defamation case against Manorama Editors

A complaint was filed against a news published in the daily about a vigilance report against the complainant (R Chandrasekaran) and three others. The Editors and Publishers approached the High Court against the Magistrate order taking cognizance of the complaint. The court referred to the complainant and noted the complainant was accused person in the news item which contained a true version of report.
Though a crime was registered against them and a refer report was submitted subsequently. The court was of the view that S.499IPC has got a wider view in democratic system and right to publish news item with its necessary comments and views though at times some might be defeated unless malafides writ large on its face and not concerning with matter of public interests or public good. If the contemptuous nature of news item if connectd with imputation of truth which require publication for public good won’t attract the offence.
The court further observed the private complaint in this case is intended to defeat the solemn function vested with fourth estate. It was considered to be duty of fourth estate to publish all news materials having publish all news materials having public importance and it is their duty to comment on the news material with its pros and cons, to enlighten the society. Though contemptuous, may sometimes not itself amount to defamation a defined under S. 499 IPC unless the same is lacking in good faith and not concerning with a matter of public interests or public good. As a result the Kerala High Court quashed defamation complaint registered against the Chief Editor, Managing Editor and Publisher of Malayala Monorama Daily.

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