ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Retrogression and Defamation-The Cost of the Pending Bills

Retrogression and Defamation The Cost of the Pending Bills Anil Nauriya THE proposed Defamation Act is precisely that. The legislative draftsmen obviously knew what they were about. For the bill is a confused confession that the allegations being made against various public and semi-public figures would not be defamation under the existing laws. As such, it is self-defamatory. That perhaps saves the proposed Act from the possible technical criticism that its proper title should have been the Defamation (Offences) Act, which is the usual form for such things [Sati (Prevention); Untouchability (Offences); 'Prevention' of Corruption Act.] The novel offence 'criminal imputation' is dangerous insofar as it docs away with the well known and standard exceptions to the concept and offence of defamation. But it is a curious 'offence'. It will be criminal imputation to make a false allegation of commission of a criminal offence. By the same token, to allege falsely that someone has committed the offence of criminal imputation would itself surely be criminal imputation. It is thus an offence that could explode in the face of whoever makes a complaint to the Court of Sessions about such an offence having been committed. It would, at any rate, transport us into a hall of legal mirrors and a world of infinite images, the truth or falsity of one reflecting that of the other. Such a provision cannot have been the handiwork of those wishing to find practical solutions to problems of everyday life

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