Decided on September 14,1983

Mahipatray M Mehta Dr Appellant


A.P.RAVANI - (1.) Outside the Parliament a Member of Parliament cannot claim any higher privilege than that of an ordinary citizen. If he makes a defamatory statement in respect of any person before Press or Public he cannot claim protection of parliamentary privilege. But the question is when he makes a representation before the highest authority of the country with respect to smuggling and other nefarious activities in the area of his constituency and draws the attention of the authority towards the inaction and complacency of the government officers concerned and incidentally refers to some unlawful actions (not smuggling) of the complainant and points out that the concerned government officer was inactive and complacent in this regard would it amount to defamation of the complainant ? Is the statement so made during the course of representation by an M. P. not required to be read in proper context ? If so read can an intention to cause harm to the reputation of the complainant be imputed to him ? In the background of the facts which follow the aforesaid questions are required to be answered.
(2.) Opponent No. 1 herein filed a complaint on 29/06/1982 in the court of JMFC Bhuj alleging that a news item which appeared in Sandesh daily dated 26/04/1982 was pertaining to him and it was defamatory. He stated that he was a leading citizen belonging to Mohammadan community and was a social worker and was holding an important status in Alhedi Community and he had performed Haj pilgrimage. As per his complaint accused No. 1 (petitioner herein) contested Lok Sabha election in 1977 and at that time he had requested for contribution to election funds and for the support but he had refused and since then the accused was harbouring malice against him. He further complained that with a view to keep pressure upon him a letter was concocted and sent to the Prime Minister in the name of a fictitious person called Ismail. Taking the shelter behind this fake letter the details thereof were published in leading newspapers of Gujarat and he was involved in the alleged activity of smuggling. He further alleged that accused No. 1 with the help of accused Nos. 2 and 3 (Editor and Managing Editor of Sandesh daily respectively against whom the case has been compounded later on and who have been ordered to be acquitted) got published a writing involving him in the smuggling of gold worth Rs. 1.5 crores and describing that he was a smuggler and was taking interest in the smuggling activity. It was further stated that he was being addressed as Kutchi Mastan. According to him all this was done with a view to harm his reputation and cause him mental torture and pain. He then referred to the writing in question and on that basis he prayed that an offence under sec. 500 read with sec. 34 of the Indian Penal Code was committed by the accused and prayed for a process to be issued against each of them. The complaint was filed on 29/06/1982 He was examined on the same day. In his preliminary examination he stated that as per the contents which appeared in Sandesh dated 26/04/1982 he was defamed by the accused.
(3.) The learned Magistrate ordered to register the complaint and also ordered to issue summons under sec. 500 read with sec. 34 of the Indian Penal Code against all the accused. In response to the summons all the accused appeared before the learned Magistrate. After some proceedings of the case i. e. on 30/12/1982 complainant-opponent No. 1 herein and original accused Nos. 2 and 3 i.e. Chimanbhai Patel and Falgun Chimanlal Patel jointly filed pursis Exh. 20 in the Court and declared that the case against accused Nos. 2 and 3 i.e. against the publishers of the news item in Sandesh daily was compounded. The complainant categorically stated that he was not desirous to proceed further with the complaint against the accused Nos. 2 and 3 and his complaint against accused No. 1 only (i e. Dr. Mahipatrai M. Mehta petitioner herein) be proceeded further. The learned Magistrate recorded the composition and in view of the composition ordered to acquit accused Nos. 2 and 3 and also ordered to proceed further against accused No. 1 petitioner herein in accordance with law.;

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