RUKMANI BAI Vs. RADHA BALLABH
LAWS(RAJ)-1952-5-25
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
Decided on May 20,1952

RUKMANI BAI Appellant
VERSUS
RADHA BALLABH Respondents

JUDGEMENT

Sharma, J. - (1.)THIS is a reference by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Baran, in a case under sec. 500 I. P. C.
(2.)THE accused Mst. Rukmani happens to be the sister of one Ramprasad, who was the father of a minor named Shyamlal. THEre was some litigation between Ramprasad and Radhaballadh. Ramprasad died, and the property, which was alleged to belong to Ramprasad, was ordered to be taken over by the Court of Wards of Tonk State. Mst. Rukmani made an application Ex. P. 1 before the Nazim, Sironj, representing the Court of Wards, praying that Shyamlal, who has been taken into his custody forcibly by Radha Ballabh be made over to her custody or to the custody of some other reliable person. She also said in the application that Radha Ballabh's interests were adverse to those of Shyamlal, and he had unlawfully taken possession of Shyamlal's property, and it was only by the order of Ma1 Sadar, Tonk. that the property was taken out of the possession of Radha Balladh and placed under the Court of Wards for purposes of management. She expressed an apprehension that because the interests of Radha Ballabh were adverse to those of the minor, the custody of the minor by Radha Ballabh was not free from danger. This application is dated the 1st of April, 1948.
Radha Ballabh filed a complaint in the court of Additional District Magistrate, Sironj, under sec. 500 I. P. C. saying that the expressions used in the application Ex. P. 1 were defamatory, and had been made with the intention of harming the reputation of Radha Ballabh. The learned Magistrate framed a charge against the accused that on the 1st of April, 1948, she had made statements in application Ex. P. 1 which were defamatory and adversely affected the prestige of Radha Ballabh, and which defamed him. The accused denied the charge, but the learned Magistrate found her guilty under sec. 500 I. P. C. and sentenced her to a fine of Rs. 50/-, and ordered that she would have to go one month's simple imprisonment in case of default of payment of fine.

Rukmani went in revision to the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Baran, who has made this reference recommending that the conviction and sentence be set aside, as it was not established that the accused had committed the offence of defamation.

I have heard Mr. B. K. Bhargava, who appears for the accused Mst. Rukmani and supports the reference. I have also heard Mr. D. L. Bhargave for the opposite party, Radha Ballabh, and Mr. C. B. Bhargava, for the State. On a very careful examination of the application Ex. P. l, which gave rise to the complaint of Radha Ballabh, I am not at all satisfied that Mst. Rukmani committed any offence of defamation. As has been said above' she is the father's sister of Shyamlal, who is a minor. It is not denied that litigation had taken place with regard to the property between Shyamlal's father Ramprased on the one side and opposite party Radha Ballabh on the other. The property, after the death of Ramprasad, was ordered to be taken over in the management of the Court of Wards. The accused prayed in the application that Shyamlal minor be taken out of the. custody of Radha Ballabh and placed either in her own custody or in the custody of some other reliable persons. Her apprehension that there was no safety of the minor in the custody of Radha Ballabh cannot be said to be ill-founded. There having been litigation between Shyamlal's father on the one side and Radha Ballabh on the other, the interests of Radha Ballabh can well be side to be adverse to those of Shyamlal minor. The accused was, therefore, not unjustified in apprehending danger to Shyamlal, if he continued in the custody of Radha Ballabh.

It was argued that it was stated in the application that Radha Ballabh had taken possession of the property of Shyamlal by dishonest and fraudulent means in spite of protests, and that these words were used by Mst. Rukmani with the intention of harming or knowing or having reason to believe that they would harm the reputation of Radha Ballabh. The sole aim of Mst. Rukmani by this application was that the minor be taken out of the custody of Radha Ballabh, and be given over to the custody of some proper person. She believed her brother Ramprased to be rightful owner, and it cannot be said that she did not believe honestly that the action of Radha Ballabh in taking possession of the property was dishonest and fraudulent. I do not find that by the mere use of those words Mst. Rukamni committed any offence of defamation. For making out an offence of defamation, it is necessary that by using certain expressions the intention is to harm the reputation of a certain person or the person using those expressions knew or had reason to believe that such imputation would harm the reputation of such person. I do not think that by her application Ex. P. 1 Mst. Rukmani either intended to harm the reputation of Radha Ballabh or knew or had reason to believe that the imputations complained of would harm his reputation I agree with the learned Additional Sessions Judge that no offence under sec. 500 I. P. C. has been brought home to the accused.

Before closing, I may observe that the charge drawn up by the learned Magistrate is very defective. The learned Magistrate does not say in the charge sheet what were the statements in Ex. P. 1 which he considered to be defamatory. He has vaguely said that in the application Ex. P. 1 the accused used certain expressions which could affect the prestige of Radha Ballabh or defame him. The accused in a case under sec. 500 is entitled to know specifically as to what are the words which are considered to be defamatory. It is not enough to say that by means of a particular document he defamed another person. Surely every word of Ex. P. 1 cannot be said to be defamatory, and it was the duty of the learned Magistrate to have drawn the attention of the accused pointedly to the expressions which he considered defamatory.

I accept the reference, set aside the conviction and sentence of the accused, and acquit her. The fine, if paid, shall be refunded. .



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