PURSHOTTAM LAL SAYAL Vs. PREM SHANKER
LAWS(ALL)-1965-4-6
HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD
Decided on April 12,1965

PURSHOTTAM LAL SAYAL Appellant
VERSUS
PREM SHANKER Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

DAWKINS V. LORD ROKEBY [REFERRED TO]
ROYAL ACQUARIUM AND SUMMER AND WINTER GARDEN SOCIETY LTD. V. PARKINSON [REFERRED TO]
SMITH V. NATIONAL METER CO. LTD. [REFERRED TO]
ADDIS V. CROCKER [REFERRED TO]
O'CONNOR V. WALDRON [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

SELVI J JAYALALITHAA VS. R RAJAGOPAL ALIAS R R GOPAL ALIAS NAKKHEERANGOPAL [LAWS(MAD)-2006-3-19] [REFERRED TO]
R RAJAGOPAL ALIAS R R GOPAL ALIAS NAKKHEERAN GOPAL VS. J JAYALALITHA [LAWS(MAD)-2006-4-2] [REFERRED TO]
CHAITANYADEV SURENDRASINH ZALA VS. VAJESANG BANESANG DODIYA [LAWS(GJH)-2014-6-8] [REFERRED TO]
N. HIRIYAN VS. B. SIVAKUMAR [LAWS(MAD)-2014-9-181] [REFERRED TO]
GAUTAM DEB VS. STATE [LAWS(CAL)-2011-9-214] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

Dhavan, J. - (1.)THIS is a defendant's second appeal from the decree of the Second Additional Civil Judge of Meerut awarding the plaintiff respondent a sum of Rs. 1,000 as damages for slander. It raises several questions of law, including constitutional law, of general importance. The factual findings of the lower appellate Court were not challenged in this appeal and its decree was assailed on legal and constitutional grounds; but it is necessary to relate very briefly the facts which have led to this suit. An inquiry was instituted against one R. L. Bansal, Agent of the Allahabad Bank Ghaziabad, on the application of an employee of the Bank, Tara Chand. The defendant-appellant Purushottam Lal Siyal (hereinafter called Siyal), represented Tara Chand in that inquiry which was conducted by the Regional Officer of the Bank who was sent from Delhi. R. L. Bansal, as agent of the Ghaziabad branch, had made a report against Tara Chand complaining that his behaviour to the customers was unsatisfactory and this led to a proposal for the compulsory retirement of Tara Chand. The latter however sent a representation accusing R. L. Bansal of personal prejudice against him, and the Bank ordered an inquiry. It was held in the premises of the Bank and both parties were permitted to lead evidence and produce witnesses. The appellant, who represented Tara Chand, was at the time holding a responsible position in the All-India Bank Employees Association. One of the witnesses of R. L. Bansal was Prem Shanker a local business man of some standing and repute. He is the plaintiff in the suit, and respondent in this appeal. He gave evidence in Favour of R. L. Bansal and against Tara Chand. While cross-examining him, the appellant Siyal made statements which were regarded by the latter as defamatory and have resulted in this suit.
(2.)THE plaintiff's case is that the appellant while cross-examining him made the following statement to the inquiry officer: "In se yeh poochcha jave ki inko kitna qarz dena hai; yeh kiya income-tax dete hain; yeh log gharibon ka khoon choos maldar ho gaye hain; aise gawah das das vo bees rupya men behut mil sakte hain; in se yeh maloom kiya jaye ki inhon ne dedh dedh rupiya le kar kitni bar gawahi di; duniya bhar ka black-market karte hain aur ab ek gharib bank karma-chari ka khoon choosne aye hain." ("THE witness should be asked how much debt he has incurred and whether he pays income-tax, he has amassed wealth by sucking the blood of the poor; witnesses like him are obtainable in abundance for Rs. 10 or Rs. 20; he should be asked how many times he appeared as a witness on being paid Rs. 1-8-0 he indulges in black marketing all over the world and now he has come here to suck the blood of a poor bank employee").
According to the plaintiff the appellant uttered these words in a fit of anger in the presence of several other persons, including some witnesses. He pleaded that these remarks were defamatory of him and had lowered him in the prestige of others and caused him considerable pain. He served a notice on the appellant claiming Rs. 5,000 as damages, but the appellant refused to accept it. Thereupon the plaintiff filed this suit claiming the same amount as damages.

The defendant resisted the suit and all liability. His defence was that he had never made the remarks attributed to him. Alternatively, he pleaded that the remarks were not defamatory and, in any case, the occasion was privileged. He also alleged that the suit was filed at the instigation of R. L. Bansal who was on friendly terms with the plaintiff.

(3.)BOTH the parties led evidence. The inquiry officer, Shri Bishan Dass and several other persons appeared for the plaintiff. The plaintiff himself appeared in the witness box and confirmed the allegations made by him in the plaint. Sri Bishan Das deposed that the appellant had made the disputed remarks attributed to him in his presence. The appellant also appeared in the witness box and denied having made the remarks attributed to him. He also produced several witnesses to support his version.
The trial Court believed the plaintiff's version and disbelieved the appellant. It held that the appellant did make the remarks attributed to him and that the statement that witnesses like the plaintiff could be procured on payment of Rs. 10 or Rs. 20 and that the plaintiff should be asked how many times he had given evidence on being paid Rs. 1-8-0 were defamatory. The remaining remarks were held by the trial Court to be merely abusive but not actionable. It also held that the remarks quoted above amounted to an imputation of dishonesty against the plaintiff as a tradesman and actionable per se. It awarded the plaintiff a sum of Rs. 100 as compensation with proportionate costs. Both sides appealed--the appellant filed an appeal and the plaintiff a cross-objection. The learned Civil Judge confirmed all the findings of the trial Court and held the appellant liable for slander. But he thought that the sum awarded by the trial Court as damages was inadequate. Accordingly, he dismissed the appeal but allowed the cross- objection and increased the compensation to Rs. 1,000. The appellant has come to this Court in second appeal.

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