Decided on February 23,1967

RAMDHARA Appellant


- (1.) THIS second appeal arises, from a suit for damages for defamation. The plaintiff's case was that relations between the parties were strained and a few days before the incident there was a quarrel between Ayodhya Prasad, her son, on the one hand, and Shivgovind, husband of Mst. Ramdhara (defendant 1), and Moortlal, husband of Mst. Sushila (defendant 2), on the other hand. Ayodhya Prasad. accompanied by Jagatram, went to Police Station to lodge a report about that quarrel. Jagatram is Ayodhya Prasad's Mamiya Susar, (wife's maternal uncle ). Four or five days thereafter, when on the evening of the incident, the plaintiff had been to bring her cattle and buffalo, she happened to come across the first defendant on her way. On seeing her the first defendant abused her filthily saying "rand Tune Chhokara Ko Jagatram Ke Sath Report Ko Kahe Ko Bhej Di. Tu To Dari Chhinal. Tu To Jagatram Ki Lugai Hai. Usane Tere Ko Rakha Hai. " Defendant 2 also happened to be there and she associated herself with the first defendant in those abuses and defamatory imputations. The plaintiff's contention was that the imputation against her chastity was made with a view to ridicule her and lower her reputation. She claimed Rs. 150/- as general damages. The suit was resisted. The trial Court dismissed the suit holding that it was not proved that the defendant uttered those words.
(2.) THE first appellate Court reversed the decree of the trial Court. It has found that the plaintiff's case was proved by the evidence of the plaintiff herself and her witnesses, Manrakhan (P. W. 2) and Rameshwar Prasad (P. W. 3 ). The learned Judge has elaborately discussed their evidence and also the evidence produced by the defendants. He also pointed out where the trial Court, in his opinion, erred. He has also discussed the arguments advanced before him on the question of fact. The finding reached by the first appellate Court is one of fact and it is not assailable in second appeal.
(3.) IT is alternatively argued by Shrl Upadhyaya that if it is found that those words were uttered by the defendants, they amounted to mere abuses without intending or conveying their natural meaning. The objectionable words cannot be read as to convey an imputation that the plaintiff had become Jagatram's mistress or that she had illicit relations with him. It is true that although mere vulgar abuse and vituperative epithets may hurt a man's pride, yet they do not disparage his reputation, if intended as mere abuse and so understood by those who heard those words. It is of the essence of defamation that the words tend to be injurious to a person's character or reputation. The standard to be applied in determining whether a statement is defamatory or not is that of a right minded citizen, a man of fair average intelligence. The standard to be applied is not that of a special class of persons whose values are not shared or approved by fair-minded members of the society generally. See Byrne v. Deane 1937-1 KB 818 (833 ). An imputation is defamatory, if it exposes one to disgrace and humiliation, ridicule or contempt, The allegation of illegitimacy is undoubtedly defamatory.;

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