• Section 199(2) allows public servants to file a complaint in sessions court through a public prosecutor for alleged defamatory comments on their officials act.
  • The Supreme Court upheld this section by calling the public servants as a “different class” on a different footing.
  • The court rejected the argument that it creates a separate class and rejected that differential treatment is granted to the servants.
  • Court noted that public functions stand on a different footing. The provision gives them protection for their official acts and there cannot be defamatory attacks on them for discharge of their public duties and functions. In that sense, the public servant constitute a different class.
  • Recommendations:
  • The Supreme court could have considered some changes that balanced the criminal aspect of defamation with the right to reputation of an individual.
  • Legislative route is open to change the sections and bring meaningful provisions in the IPC regarding sections 499 and 500 as well.

Civil Society must create more awareness about the issue through various media channels such as TV, newspapers, conferences, and highlight the regressive nature of this section to all stakeholders including the judiciary, legislature, police and the society as a whole.