Defamation is not only an area of tort-law, but is also an area of criminal law. Basic philosophy, which works behind doctrine of defamation, is that reputation, status or profession of a person should be protected against unjustified insults. Due to this philosophy, it has been decided that an action should be brought up for shouting at someone contrary to good.
Defamation means, “The act of making harm to someone by saying or writing bad or false thing about them”.
Sections 499, 500 of P.P.C. 1860.
When a person makes or publishes any imputation either by words, which can be spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations and such imputation is about any person and this person intends to harm reputation of such any person or this person knows or has reason to believe that such imputation will harm reputation of such any person, he/she is said to defame that any person.
Followings are the exceptions
(i)Imputation of Truth
It is not defamation to impute anything, which is true about any person, if it is for the public good that the imputation should be made published. Whether it is for people in general great is a question of fact.
(ii)Opinion About conduct of Public Servant
It is not defamation to express in compliance with common decency any opinion whatever respecting the conduct of a public servant:
(i) In the discharge of his public functions, or
(ii) Respecting has character, so far as his character appears in that conduct and no further.
(iii)Opinion About conduct of any person
It is not defamation to act in accordance with some basic honesty any opinion whatever respecting conduct of any person touching any public question, and respecting his character so far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further.
(iv)Publication of Reports of Proceedings of Courts
It’s not defamation to distribute a significantly true report of proceedings of a court of justice or to publish a substantially true report of result of any such proceedings.
(v)Opinion About the Merits of any Case
It's not defamation to express in compliance with common decency any opinion whatever:
(i) Respecting the benefits of any case, civil or criminal, which has been chosen by a court of justice, or
(ii) Respecting the conduct of any person as a party witness or agent, in any such case, or
(iii) Respecting the character of such person, as far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further.
(vi)Merits of Public Performance
It's not defamation to express in compliance with common decency any opinion respecting merits of any performance which its author has submitted to judgment of public or respecting character of author so far as his character appears in such performance, and no further.
(vii)Any Censure on the Conduct
It is not defamation in a person, who has that authority over another person, which authority is either conferred by law or arising out of a lawful contract made with that another person, and passes in good faith any censure on conduct of that another person in matters to which such lawful authority relates.
(viii)Accusation in Good Faith
It's not defamation to express in compliance with common decency on accusation respect to the subject matter of accusation.
(ix)Imputation Made in Good Faith
It is not defamation to make an imputation on character of another provided that imputation is made in good faith for protection of interest of person making it or interest of any other person or for public good.
(x)Convey a Caution
It is not defamation to pass on an alert, in compliance with common decency, to one individual against an alternate. Provided that such caution be intended for the welfare of the person to whom its is conveyed, or of some person in whom that person is interested, or for the public welfare.
Punishment For Defamation; under Section 500 P.P.C
The prescribed punishment for the offence of defamation is simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
To conclude, it can be stated that every person possesses an absolute right for preservation of his/her reputation. Law never encourages anyone to damage anther’s reputation. For it has been settled in law that a statement about a person should not be beyond limits of fair comment.