‘Non-human entity can be tried for defamation’

Last Updated: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 13:48

New Delhi: A Delhi court has set aside a
magisterial court`s order refusing to summon two Mizoram
newspapers to stand trial in a defamation case, saying even
non-human entities, recognised by law as juristic persons, can
be tried for the offence.

While setting aside the magisterial court order, which
had turned down a woman`s plea to try them for allegedly
carrying defamatory articles against her husband resulting in
his illness and subsequent death, Additional Sessions Judge
Rajeev Bansal directed magisterial court to summon Mizo
journals `The Aizawl Post’ and ‘Zozoam Weekly’ to try them.

"Even a company/juristic person (non-human entity given
the status of person by law) can be prosecuted, as the
punishment prescribed for the offence, is not only
imprisonment, but also fine," the court said, summoning the
two Mizo journals.

"A perusal of the Impugned Order (of the magisterial
court) shows that the trial court refused to summon
respondents No 1 & 6 (the two newspapers), only on the ground
that they are juristic persons. The view taken by the trial
court cannot be countenanced in law," said the sessions judge,
setting aside the magisterial court order.

The court was hearing the plea of Aizawl native
Lalthlamuani, a resident of South Delhi, who had, in her
complaint, accused the two newspapers of publishing defamatory
articles against her husband Lalchhanhima Sailo, which
allegedly tarnished his reputation, causing illness and his
death.

The trial court, however, in December 2009 refused to
proceed with the complaint saying both the newspapers cannot
be summoned as they are not legal entity in the eyes of law.

The ASJ set aside the trial court order and has directed
it to proceed with the matter keeping in mind that juristic
person can also be summoned for having committed offence of
defamation.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 13:48

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