Any wrongful act or publication or circulation of false statement or representation made orally or in written or visual form which injuries the reputation of a person tends to lower him in the estimation of others or tends to reduce him to ridicule, unjust, criticism, dislike, contempt or hatred shall be actionable as defamation. Defamation is to two forms namely disliked, contempt or hatred shall be actionable as defamation.
Kinds of Defamation
Any false oral statement or representation that amounts to defamation shall be actionable as slander.
Any false written documentary or visual statement or representations made either by ordinarily form or expression or by electronic or by electronic or other modern means or devices that amounts to defamation shall be actionable as libel.
The publication of defamatory matter is an actionable wrong without proof of special damages to the person defamed and where defamation is proved damaged shall be presumed.
The defamation proceedings a person has the following defence
1. if he shows that he was not the author, editor, publisher or printer of the statement complained of.
2. The matter commented on is fair and in the public interest and is an expression of opinion and not a assertion of fact and was published in good faith.
3. It is bases on truth and was made for public good.
4. Assent was given for publication by the plaintiff.
5. Offer to tender a proper apology and publish the same was made by the defendant but was refused by the plaintiff.
6. An offer to print or publish a contradiction or denial in the same manner and with the same prominence was made but was refused by the plaintiff.
7. The matter complained of was privileged communication such as between lawyer and client or between person having fiduciary relations.
8. The matter is covered by absolute or qualified privilege.
Where defamation shall be proved to have occurred the court may pass order under section 9 directing the defendant to tender an apology, if acceptable to the plaintiff and publish the same in similar manner and with the same prominence as the defamatory statement made and pay reasonable compensatory damages as general damages with a minimum of Rs. 50,000/= or shall undergo three months imprisonment and n addition thereto any special damages incurred that is proved by the plaintiff to the satisfaction of the Court.
Difference between libel and slander
1. a libel is a written or a printed defamation. A slander is a spoken defamation.
2. A libel is a criminal offence as well as a civil wrong. A slander is a civil wrong only. Through the words may happen to come within the criminal law as being blasphemous seditious or obscene or as being a solicitation to commit a crime or a being a contempt of court.
3. A libel is of itself an infringement of a right and no actual damage need be proved in order to sustain an action. A slander is actionable only when special damage can be proved to have been its natural consequence or when it conveys certain imputations. An action may be maintained for defamatory words reduced into writing which would not have been actionable if merely spoken.
4. The actual publisher of a libel may be an innocent person quite unconscious of the nature of his act. E.g. a porter or a manager. He will not be liable though his employer will be. In the case of slander, if the publisher act consciously and voluntarily, he will be liable.