All about sending a legal notice for defamation by Krishna Sreeja @lexcliq

We know about defamation and the punishment for defamation too. But how to start our proceedings against the defendant. It’s simple, first step starts with sending legal notice for defamation. A defamation legal notice is also a warning before dragging the matter to the court. Therefore no reply to legal notice for defamation can result in more harm.

When Can You Send a Legal Notice for Defamation?

Usually, in India, you can send a legal notice for defamation mainly in two scenarios. So, when one, or more than one person, tarnish/diminish the reputation of an individual or an institution by:

  • using defamatory words, gestures or other transitory forms, then it’s called defamation by slander.
  • writing or printing something, then it’s called defamation by libel.

Who Can Send Legal Notice for Defamation in India?

In that context, you should know that in India, there is no such specific provision of laws which tells who can file the suit for defamation.

But there have been many answers to this question by different precedents of the Supreme Court. In the Apex Court’s decision, in respect of an offence of defamation, only the individual can take legal action, not his/ her parents, any other family members or friends.

Important Elements Required for Sending a Defamation Notice

If you want to make allegations of a legal notice amount to defamation then before doing so you must look for some specific elements in the act of the person whom you are planning to sue for defamation.

The essential elements are as follows:

  • The defamatory statement must be false: If accusations on any person for making defamatory remarks are true facts, then no defamation suit will rely on.
  • No privileged statement will come under the preview of defamation: There are various situations where a statement might be protected by privilege. (e.g., if the statement repeats material or facts from a court proceeding or other public documents, then one can say that the statement is privileged. According to the law as well, a privileged statement cannot be brought in the defamation suit.)
  • Opinion is NOT a defamatory statement: Making any remarks in the form of opinion by a person be it true or false; irrespective of the fact, one can’t treat opinion as a defamatory remark.
  • The statement must be published: A statement will only come under defamation if it is read or heard by someone other than who remarks. (e.g., if anyone abuses a person in private message, then it’s not defamation. But, if anyone abuses in a group inbox, then it will be defamation.)
  • The statement must actually cause reputational damage: Defamation suit will not stand if the person accused carries a bad character and is notorious in nature.

The legal notice of defamation is mainly governed by the following laws:

  • Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC)
  • Indian Penal Code, 1862

A person can opt for civil remedy by filing a suit for Defamation and Compensation depending on the amount of the claim for compensation. One can file the suit either before:

  • the Court of Civil Judge Junior Division, or
  • the Munsif, or
  • the Court of Civil Judge Senior Division, or
  • the Sub-Judge.

 

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