A man’s reputation is more valuable to him than his own property. Every man has the right to
protect his reputation. Injury to one’s reputation is known as Defamation.
According to Dr. Winfield, “Defamation is the publication of a statement which tends to lower a
person in the estimation of right thinking members of society generally, or, which tends to make
them shun or avoid that person”.
There are Two kind of Defamation:
1. Libel: In Libel, the defamatory statement is made in some permanent and visible form
such as writing, printing, or pictures. In Libel the defamation is visible to the eyes.
2. Slander: In Slander, defamatory statement is made against a person by spoken words or
some other temporary form, whether visible or audible, such as gestures, hissing or any
other things. In slander the defamation is audible to the ear.
Essentials of Defamation:
1. The statement must be defamatory: The statement is defamatory if it injures the
reputation of the person to whom it is referred. It also tends to diminish the good name of
the plaintiff and makes others look at him with a feeling of hatred, contempt, ridicule or
2. The statement must refer to the plaintiff: It necessary to prove that the every action
of defamatory statement is referred to the plaintiff. The reference may be express or
3. The statement must be published: Publication of the defamatory statement is of
utmost importance in order to claim for the damages. If there is no publication, there is no
injury to reputation and no action will arise.
Defences generally taken in an action of Defamation:
1. Justification of truth: In the action of Defamation, if the defendant proves that the
defamatory statement is true then no action will lie for it, even if the statement is
published in a malicious way.
2. Fair and bona fide comment: A fair and bona fide comment is a good defence on the
matters of public interest. Every person is entitled to express his opinion under Article 19.
3. Privileged statement: Mere occasions, where the public interest in freedom of
communication is paramount, making statements which are even untrue in nature does
not amount to defamation.
CREDIT: Megha Balakrishna Kotian