spot Light – Apex court – law of defamation

Spot Light
Apex court                 

Law of Defamation  

Murali Mohan.M
18-05-2020

Introduction

  1. Title

Law of Defamation 

  1. Author

M.Murali Mohan – collected a flower bouquet 

  1. Case Laws

Various Case Laws – more than 25 collected from 1960 to 2019 from the Garden of Apex court 

  1. Price of volume

Rs.500/-  payable through google pay

  1. Why did you choose this book?

It is a must to know about your rights in filing and in defending the circumstances offending your reputation etc.,.

About the law of defamation

The Hon’ble Apex court went in such a deep manner while applying the law to the set of facts .

Every judgment is the best example of it’s own – each has got a special identification from another . 

We can call it a pearl garland from the Apex court neck.

In the first case , the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with the misuse of criminal proceedings-The court must ensure that criminal prosecution is not used as an instrument of harassment or for seeking private vendetta or with an ulterior motive to pressurise the accused. Apex court in this case concluded that  a little deeper scrutiny into the circumstances under which the complaint came to be filed would demonstrate that allegation of fabricating the false record is clearly an afterthought and it becomes more than apparent that the respondent has chosen to level such a make belief allegation with sole motive to give a shape of criminality to the entire dispute, which was otherwise civil in nature. So no civil case can not be trimed as a criminal case after the lost the battle of civil case .

In the second case , the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with the amendment of criminal complaints including defamation complaints- when an amendment can be done is a question of fact /stage? Confirm the orders of High court and that of trial court by holding that 

“Firstly, Magistrate was yet to apply the judicial mind to the contents of the complaint and had not taken cognizance of the matter. 

Secondly, since summons was yet to be ordered to be issued to the accused, no prejudice would be caused to the accused.

Thirdly, the amendment did not change the original nature of the complaint being one for defamation.

Fourthly, the publication of poem ‘Khalnayakaru’ being in the nature of subsequent event created a new cause of action in favour of the respondent which could have been prosecuted by the respondent by filing a separate complaint and therefore to avoid multiplicity of proceedings, the trial court allowed the amendment application. 

Considering these factors which weighed in the mind of the courts below, in our view, the High Court rightly declined to interfere with the order passed by the Magistrate allowing the amendment application and the impugned order does not suffer from any serious infirmity warranting interference in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.

In the third case , the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with the Section 7 of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 – presumptions – but not vicarious liability – as accused raised objection that no criminal case would be foisted on the base of vicarious liability. The Word Editor carries rebuttal presumption that’s why the Hon’ble Apex court held that “ there could be a presumption against the Editor whose name is printed in the newspaper to the effect that he is the Editor of such publication and that he is responsible for selecting the matter for publication. Though, a similar presumption cannot be drawn against the Chief Editor, Resident Editor or Managing Editor, nevertheless, the complainant can still allege and prove that they had knowledge and they were responsible for the publication of the defamatory news item. Even the presumption under Section 7 is a rebuttable presumption and the same could be proved otherwise. That by itself indicates that somebody other than the editor can also be held responsible for selecting the matter for publication in a newspaper”. And also held that even after issuing the process , the Magistrate court can drop proceedings after reconsideration.

In the fourth case , the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with sec.468 of Cr.P.C. – limitation aspect in filing defamation case should be within 3 years from the date of offence and held about the non application of other sections too – by saying that 

(a) the date of the offence was March 15, 1972 when a defamatory complaint was filed in the Court of the Magistrate and that was the starting point for the purposes of calculating the three years’ limitation provided by s. 468; 

(b) the complaint under s. 500 I.P.C.was filed on 11-2-1976 much after the expiry of three years limitation prescribed for that offence. It was, therefore, not possible for the Court of the Magistrate to take cognizance of the offence after the expiry of the period of limitation : 

(c) the question of  cause of action” contemplated in s. 469(1)(c) could not arise as the controversy related to “the commission of an offence” and 

(d) the provision of sub-s. (1) of s. 470 cannot avail the respondent as his case, was not so. He did not claim the benefit of s. 473 either.

In the fifth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with transfer of defamation case from one State to another State and cleared the grounds on which court took consideration – Both sides have made several allegations in regard to the merits. We do not propose to examine them in this case as the scope of transfer proceedings is limited. We are satisfied that the petitioner will be put to considerable hardship if she is required to contest the matter in Mumbai. On the facts and circumstances, the case deserves to be transferred to Delhi, as requested by the petitioner.

In the sixth case ,the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with publication of evidence of the witness in a defamation case in papers while trial was going on – can the court stop it as those public proceedings and was that order violated the fundamental rights of the petitioners under Art. 19(1) (a). Apex court held that as the impugned order must be held to prevent the publication of the evidence of the witness during the course of the trial and not thereafter. and the order was passed to help the administration of justice for the purpose of obtaining true evidence in the case, the order was within the inherent power of the High Court. The High Court has inherent jurisdiction to hold a trial in camera if the ends of justice clearly and necessarily require the adoption of such a course. Section 14 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 in terms recognises the existence of such inherent powers in its opening clause, and s. 151, Code of Civil Procedure, saves the inherent power of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of the Court. Such a power includes the power to hold a part of the trial in camera or to prohibit exessive publication of a part of the proceedings at such trial.

In the seventh case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with the exceptions of defamation and also the power of court to get records from custodians to know the prima facie case, instead of depending on the statement of complainant as per his allegations – when the record gives any exception under Sec.499 IPC, court can drop to issue process to the accused – Apex court in this held that  whether reading the complaint and the report of the Treasury Officer which was obtained pursuant to the Order of the Magistrate under sub-section (1) of Section 201 can it be said that a prima facie case exist for trial or exception 8 to Section 499 clearly applies and consequently in such a case, calling upon the accused to face trial would be a travesty of justice.The report of the Treasury Officer clearly indicates that pursuant to the report made by the accused persons against the complainant, a departmental inquiry had been initiated and the complainant was found to be guilty. Under such circumstances the fact that the accused persons had made a report to the superior officer of the complainant alleging that he had abused to the Treasury Officer in a drunken state which is the gravamen of the present complaint and nothing more, would be covered by exception 8 to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code.

In the eight case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with Transfer of civil suit for damages for defamation -sec.25 of CPC- held that The Supreme Court is empowered at any stage to transfer any suit, appeal or other proceeding from a High Court or other Civil Court in one State to a High Court or other Civil Court of another State if it is satisfied that such an Order is expedient for the ends of justice.

In the ninth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with one case gave a birth to another case because of the defence  taken – in a cheque bounce case -the accused made false allegations against the complaint – cheque bounce case was allowed and appeal also dismissed and become final – now she filed defamation case – limitation aspect not challenged in lower courts – apex court held that 

(1) whether the uncontroverted allegations, as made in the complaint, prima facie establish the offence, and 

(2) whether it is expedient and in the interest of justice to permit a prosecution to continue.

yes-

As the Magistrate had convicted the respondents for the offences under Sections 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and the appeal filed by the respondents was also dismissed by the learned Sessions Judge. Assuming that the imputations made could be covered by exception 9 of Section 499 IPC, several questions still remain to be examined whether such imputations were made in good faith, in what circumstances, with what intention, etc. All these can be examined on the basis of evidence in the trial.

In the tenth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with the sec.319 Crpc with it’s limitations and also Section 7 of the Press & Registration of Books Act, 1867 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”), they are not liable to be prosecuted and that the Editor of the newspaper whose name is printed on it as the “Editor” of that publication alone is liable to be prosecuted for any of the offence for such libellous publication.- apex court held that the complainant in each case has alleged that these appellants who are either Managing Editor, Chief Editor or Resident Editor had knowledge and were responsible for publishing defamatory matter in their respective newspaper publications. Moreover, in none of these cases, the ‘Editor’ had come forward and pleaded guilty to the effect that he was the person responsible for selecting the alleged defamatory matter published.f the complaint is allowed to proceed only against the ‘Editor’ whose name is printed in the newspaper against whom there is a statutory presumption under Section 7 of the Act, and in case such ‘Editor’ succeeds in proving that he was not the ‘Editor’ having control over the selection of the alleged libellous matter published in the newspaper, the complainant would be left without any remedy to redress his grievance against the real culprit. We are not unmindful of the powers of the Court under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, but such powers are circumscribed by limitations.

In the eleventh case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with Bad Slogans made in the public meeting processions – Members of procession shouting defamatory slogans against Ministers – “Jaggu mama hai hai (Jaggu, maternal uncle be dead)” and “Khachar Khota hai hai (mule-cumdonkey be dead)”. The words were directed against the Transport Minister and the Chief Minister respectively and were defamatory. The appellants were prosecuted and convicted under s. 9 of the Punjab Security of the State Act, 1953-.Apex court Held that the statements could not be said to undermine the security of the State or friendly relations with foreign States nor did they amount to contempt of Court or <img alt=”<defamation prejudicial to the security of the State nor did they tend to overthrow the State and that the prosecution had failed to establish that the act of the appellants undermined public order, decency or morality or was tant- amount to an incitement to an offence prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and consequently the prosecution under s. 9 was not justified.

In the twelfth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with defamatory allegations against a community -Marwari Community is not a Class belonging to India and they have not faith and love towards India, their mother land. It is implied from the said statement that Marwaris are traitors and enemies of India. So also accused No.2 has also printed and published the said statement in ‘Star Dust’ Magazine of 1989 with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of Marwari Community.-

apex court held that 

whether the appellant had intention to cite as an instance of general feeling among the community and 

whether the context in which the said statement came to be made, as is sought to be argued by the learned senior counsel for the appellant, are all matters to be considered by the learned Magistrate at a later stage.

whether or not the allegations made in the complaint constitute an offence punishable under Section 500 Is the only point at this stage.

It is the settled legal position that a Court has to read the complaint as a whole and find out whether allegations disclosed constitute an offence under Section 499 triable by the Magistrate. The Magistrate prima facie came to the conclusion that the allegations might come within the definition of defamation under Section 499 IPC and could be taken cognizance of. But these are the facts to be established at the trial.not liable to be quashed.

In the thirteenth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with Penal Code-Section 499-Ninth exception-Scope of- Respondent made imputations regarding character of appellant in an article published in his journal purporting to be based on confidential report of a high official of State Government- apex court held that The burden to prove that his case would come within the ninth exception to section 499, namely, that the imputation was in good faith and was for the protection of the interests of the person making it or of any other person or for the public good was on the respondent. All that the respondent prayed for was that the Magistrate should not proceed to record his plea under section 251 Cr. P.C.without perusing the enquiry report. There was no application for quashing the prosecution itself. The enquiry report in respect of which the Government claimed privilege had by itself no evidentiary value. The contents of that report could not be made use of unless the facts were proved by evidence aliunde. The report being per se defamatory, it was for the accused to plead the ninth exception in defence and discharge the burden of proving good faith which implies the exercise of due care and caution and to show that the attack on the character of the appellant was for the public good

In the fourteenth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with the case and also counter cases- failure of case gave a cause of action for a counter case – For the purpose of bringing his case within the purview of the Eight and the Ninth Exception appended to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, it would be necessary for the appellant to prove good faith for the protection of the interests of the person making it or of any other person or for the public good.It is now a well-settled principle of law that those who plead exception must prove it. 

The burden of proof that his action was bonafide would, thus, be on the appellant alone.

At this stage, in our opinion, it would have been premature for the High Court to consider the materials placed by the appellant before it so as to arrive at a definite conclusion that there was no element of bad faith on  the part of the appellant in making the said complaint before the police authorities.Respondent was furthermore discharged by the learned Magistrate in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 167(5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure stating that the police authorities could not complete the investigation within a period of six months.e do not find any infirmity in the impugned judgment. 

Furthermore, the question, as to whether a totally false complaint has been made as against the respondent or not as he was not even in India prior to the date of occurrence, is required to be gone into by the learned Trial Judge.Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

In the fifteenth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with the difference offences including defamation in one complaint and scope of 198 Crpc-The appellant filed a complaint against the respondent and another under ss 385, 389, 500/109 of the Indian Penal Code.-The Trial Court found that there was no conspiracy to defame the appellant or to extort money from him and a charge under S. 500 Indian Penal Code only was framed against the respondent. It was found that the facts mentioned in the charge were not stated in the complaint. The Trial Court holding that a separate complaint should have been filed in respect of the offence with which the respondent was charged, acquitted him.-Apex court Held, that the offence charged was a separate offence, although of the same kind, from the offence in respect of which the facts had been stated in the complaint. For this separate offence a separate complaint should have been filed in accordance with the provisions of s. 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Provisions of s. 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are mandatory. In appeal the Supreme Court could do what the High Court could have done. The order of acquittal of the respondent was a nullity, and the proper order should be one of discharge.

In the sixteenth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with family disputes – hurling of loose words of defamatory nature -The appellant in showing cause described the first respondent and his brother as illegitimate sons of Faizu Ahir having been born of a concubine. A complaint was filed against the appellant for having made the above defamatory statement. The appellant pleaded not guilty. The trial magistrate held that the statement in question was false and defamatory and convicted the appellant under s. 500 of the Indian Penal Code- apex court held that By reason of the findings of fact that the appellant did not act with -are and caution and secondly that the appellant was related to the respondent :and thirdly that no enquiry was made by the appellant, the appellant could not claim good faith.Just because a proceeding is pending it Will not be open to a person to impute the statements of the nature in the present case. Even if title is involved that by itself will not entitle a person to make a defamatory statement and then take the plea that it was for the protection of interest. Protection of interest of person making the imputation will have to be established by showing that the imputation was itself the protection of interest of the person making it. In the present case the question was who was in possession of land.It would not be open to a person to deny or resist possession in proceeding under s. 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code by hurling defamatory invectives and then claim the benefit of protection of interest.

In the seventeenth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with the defamatory statement of MLA – he is not permitted to publish his rejected  questions in Assembly – causing defamation to the complainant -apex court held that he publication of a disallowed question by a member of the Assembly does not come within the powers, privileges and immunities enjoyed by a member of the House of Commons and, consequently, cl. (3) of Art. 194 also cannot be of any help to the appellant. The immunity enjoyed by a member of the House of Commons is clearly confined to speeches made in Parliament and does not extend to the publication of the debate outside. If he publishes his speech, made in the House, separately from the rest of the proceedings of the House, he is liable for defamation, in case.it is defamatory.

In the eighteenth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with vicariously liable for the defamatory material carried by his newspaper and scope of 501 and 502 IPC – apex court held that Committing any act which constitutes defamation under Section 499 IPC is punishable offence under Section 500 IPC. Printing or engraving any defamatory material is altogether a different offence under Section 501 IPC. Offering for sale or selling any such printed or engraved defamatory material is yet another distinct offence under Section 502 IPC. If the respondent is the person who either made or published the defamatory imputation, he would be liable for punishment under Section 500 IPC. If he is the person who “printed” the matter within the meaning of the expression under Section 501 IPC. Similarly to constitute an offence under Section 502 IPC, it must be established that the respondent is not only the owner of the newspaper but also sold or offered the newspaper for sale. But we are of the opinion that the question requires a serious examination in an appropriate case because the owner of a newspaper employs people to print, publish and sell the newspaper to make a financial gain out of the said activity. Each of the abovementioned activities is carried on by persons employed by the owner. Where defamatory matter is printed (in a newspaper or a book etc.) and sold or offered for sale, whether the owner thereof can be heard to say that he cannot be made vicariously liable for the defamatory material carried by his newspaper etc. requires a critical examination. The judgment under appeal cannot be sustained for the reasons indicated above. The same is, therefore, set-aside and the appeal is allowed. The trial court will now proceed with the case in accordance with law. 

In the nineteenth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with caricatured in a newspaper as the abattoir of human kidneys for trafficking purposes and scope of sec199 Crpc – When the Director of the Hospital complained of defamation, the publisher of the newspaper sought shelter under the umbrage that the libel is not against the Director personally, but against the hospital only and hence he cannot feel aggrieved. – Apex court held that “199. Prosecution for defamation.- (1) No court shall take cognizance of an offence under Chapter XXI of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) except upon a complaint made by some person aggrieved by the offence.” The collocation of the words “by some persons aggrieved” definitely indicates that the complainant need not necessarily be the defamed person himself. Whether the complainant has reason to feel hurt on account of the publication is a matter to be determined by the court depending upon the facts of each case. If a company is described as engaging itself in nefarious activities its impact would certainly fall on every Director of the company and hence he can legitimately feel the pinch of it.Similarly, if a firm is described in a publication as carrying on offensive trade, every working partner of the firm can reasonably be expected to feel aggrieved by it.

In the twentieth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with Necessity of complainant stating actual words of defamation used by accused-When arises.- apex court held where the words spoken are too many or the statements are too long, it will be the height of technicality to insist that the actual words and the entire statements should-be reproduced verbatim. The object of having the actual words before the court is to enable it to consider whether the words are defamatory. That purpose will be served if the complainant is able to reproduce in his complaint or evidence, in a substantial measure, the words of imputation alleged to have been uttered. From the point of view of the accused also it is 448 necessary that the matters alleged to be defamatory in the complaint must be so stated as to enable them to know the nature of the allegations they have to meet. But a complaint cannot be thrown out on the mere ground that the actual words spoken had not been stated in the complaint.

In the twenty first case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with Letters from husband to wife containing defamatory matter of third persons–Husband prosecuted to defamation–Whether letters can be proved against husband–Subsequent declaration of nullity of marriage–If removes the bar against disclosure.- Apex court HELD: If the appellant sought to support his case only upon the evidence of the wife of the first respondent, sec.122 of the Evidence Act would be a bar. Further a marriage with a person important at the time of marriage and at the time of institution of proceedings for nullity is under the Indian Divorce Act not ab initio void; it is valid till the decree of nullity is pronounced. Therefore, if the <img alt=”<defamation case were to proceed and ‘the wife’ should appear as a witness to give evidence about the communication made to her by her husband (the first respondent), the communication could not be deposed to unless the first respondent consented because, if the marriage was subsisting at the time when the communication was made the bar prescribed by s. 122 would operate. But the letters were in appellant’s possession and were available for being tendered in evidence, and he could prove the letters in any other manner. Therefore, the accused (first respondent) should not have been discharged.

In the twenty second case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with freedom of speech & personal opinions of a person regarding social customs and culture – the apex court held that  It is not the task of the criminal law to punish individuals merely for expressing unpopular views. The threshold for placing reasonable restrictions on the `freedom of speech and expression’ is indeed a very high one and there should be a presumption in favour of the accused in such cases. It is only when the complainants produce materials that support a prima facie case for a statutory offence that Magistrates can proceed to take cognizance of the same. We must be mindful that the initiation of a criminal trial is a process which carries an implicit degree of coercion and it should not be triggered by false and frivolous complaints, amounting to harassment and humiliation to the accused.Even in the societal mainstream, there are a significant number of people who see nothing wrong in engaging in premarital sex. Notions of social morality are inherently subjective and the criminal law cannot be used as a means to unduly interfere with the domain of personal autonomy.Open criticism of government policies and operations is not a ground for restricting expression. We must practice tolerance of the views of others. Intolerance is as much dangerous to democracy as to the person himself.” Thus, dissemination of news and views for popular consumption is permissible under our constitutional scheme.The different views are allowed to be expressed by the proponents and opponents. A culture of responsible reading is to be inculcated amongst the prudent readers. Morality and criminality are far from being co-extensive. An expression of opinion in favour of non-dogmatic and non- 33 conventional morality has to be tolerated as the same cannot be a ground to penalise the author.In conclusion, we find that the various complaints filed against the appellant do not support or even draw a prima facie case for any of the statutory offences as alleged. Therefore, the appeals are allowed and the  impugned judgment and order of the High Court dated 30.4.2008 is set aside. The impugned criminal proceedings are hereby quashed.

In the twenty third case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with Abatement  – Maxim Action Personalis Moritur cum persona” (A personal action dies with the person), applicability of – Right to sue/prosecute appeal whether survives on the death of the appellant in an appeal arising out of a defamation case Right to be represented by Legal Representatives, application maintainability of – Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 order XXII Rules 1 and 11 read with section 306 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 and Order XV Rules 32 and 33 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1966.- apex court held that The position, therefore, is that had the appellant died during the pendency of his suit, the suit would have abated. Had be died during the pendency of the appeal filed by him in the District Court, the appeal would have equally abated because his suit had been dismissed by the Trial Court. Had he, however, died during the pendency of the second appeal filed by the respondent in the High Court, the appeal would not have abated because he had succeeded in the first appeal and his suit had been decreed. As however, the High Court allowed the second appeal and dismissed the suit, the present appeal by Special Leave must abate because what the appellant was seeking in this appeal was to enforce his right to sue for damages for defamation – This right did not survive his death and accordingly the appeal abated automatically on his death and his legal representatives acquired no right in law to be brought on the record in his place and stead.

In the twenty fourth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with When member of the body can complain as aggrieved person- scope of 198 – apex court held that Under s. 198, Cr.P.C., no Magistrate can take cognizance of an offence falling inter alia under Chap.XXI, I.P.C., that is, ss. 499 to 502, except on a complaint made by some persons aggrieved by such offence.The section is mandatory, so ‘that, if a Magistrate were to take cognizance of the offence of <img alt=”<defamation on a complaint filed by one who is not an aggrieved person the trial and conviction of the accused would be void and illegal.sec.499 Explanation 2 to the section lays down that it may amount to <img alt=”<defamation to make an imputation concerning a company or an association or collection of persons. But such a collection of persons must be an identifiable body, so, that, it is possible to say with definiteness that a group of particular persons ,is distinguished from the rest, of the community, was defamed.If a well defined class is defamed, every particular member’ of that class can file a complaint even if the defamatory imputation does not mention him by name. The news item complained of clearly stated that the resolution was by the conference and not by the Dravida Kazhagam. The respondent in his letters made no grievance that the Drivida Kazhagam suffered injury in reputation or otherwise by ‘the alleged distortion.His case throughout was that the publication had tarnished the image.not of the Dravida Kazhagam, but of the conference.so complaint is not maintainable.

In the twenty fifth case, the Hon’ble Apex court dealt with modern technology – cyberspace – information technology Act – defamations -Apex court held that  We do not think that it is a case where we could hold that proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wrecking vengeance on the appellant with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge. 

In the case, it is found that in spite of the first respondent complaint issuing notice about dissemination of defamatory information on the part of A1-accused no.1-appellant did not move its little finger to block the material or to stop dissemination of unlawful and objectionable material. This conduct  of the appellant disentitles it from claiming protection either under the provisions of the unamended Section 79 or under Section 79 after substitution. 

The offence in this case was perpetuated from 31.07.2008 onwards since long prior to the substitution.

As we have noticed, the scope of Section 79, before its substitution, was confined to confer immunity from liability in regard to an offence under the Act or the Rules or Regulations qua third-party action or data made available. 

In this regard, it must be noticed that Chapter XI of the Act deals with the offences. Sections 65 to 67B deals with various offences under the Act. This is besides Sections 71, 72A, 73 and 74 of the Act. Section 79 falls under Chapter XII. 

Therefore, the scheme of the Act would also indicate that Section 79, as it was prior to the substitution, was indeed  confined to the liability of the Network Service Provider arising out of the provisions of the Act besides, no doubt, Rules and Regulations, and it was not, in short, a bar to the complaint under Section 500 of the IPC being launched or prosecuted.

We reject the contention of the appellant that the High Court should have acted on the Google LLC conditions and found that the appellant is not the intermediary. We hold that this is a matter for trial. 

We hold that Section 79 of the Act, prior to its substitution, did not protect an intermediary in regard to the offence under Section 499/500 of the IPC.

 We set aside the findings by the High Court regarding the alleged refusal of the appellant to respond to the notice to remove. We make it clear, however, that it is for the Court to decide the matter on the basis of the materials placed before it, and taking into  consideration, the observations contained in this judgment. 156.We leave open the contentions of the parties except those which we have finally pronounced upon. Subject to the above, the Magistrate shall proceed with the complaint. The appeal stands disposed of as aforesaid.

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