Wednesday 26 October 2022

Supreme Court: Minister/Public Servant Can File Private Complaint Alleging Defamation; Need Not Follow Special Procedure U/Sec 199 (2) & (4) CrPC

  In Subramanian Swamy (supra), this Court was dealing with a batch of writ petitions Under Article 32 of the Constitution challenging the constitutional validity of Sections 499 and 500 Indian Penal Code and Sections 199(1) to 199(4) of the Code of 1973. The impact of Sub-section (6) on other Sub-sections of Section 199 of the Code of 1973 was indicated in paragraph 203 of the Report in Subramanian Swamy as follows:

203. Sub-section (6) gives to a public servant what every citizen has as he cannot be deprived of a right of a citizen. There can be cases where sanction may not be given by the State Government in favour of a public servant to protect his right and, in that event, he can file a case before the Magistrate.  {Para 44}

45. The above passage is relied upon by the learned Senior Counsel for the Appellants to contend that it is only in cases where the State Government refuses to give sanction for prosecution, that the individual right Under Sub-section (6) of Section 199 can be invoked. But we are afraid that such an inference does not flow out of what is observed in paragraph 203 of the decision in Subramanian Swamy (supra). To say that the provisions of Sub-section (6) of Section 199 can be invoked by the individual public servant, only in cases where the State Government does not go to his rescue, could violate the plain language of Sub-section (6). Sub-section (6) of Section 199 begins with the words "nothing in this Section shall affect the right of the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed". Sub-section (6) does not contain any conditions subject to which the right thereunder can be exercised.

46. The non-obstante Clause in Sub-section (2) of Section 199 will also not go to the rescue of the Appellants, as the said Clause also stands eclipsed by the words "nothing in this section" appearing in Sub-section (6). The word "nothing" appearing in Sub-section (6) will include the non-obstante Clause in Sub-section (1) also.


Criminal Appeal No. 1791 of 2022 

Decided On: 17.10.2022

Manoj Kumar Tiwari  Vs. Manish Sisodia and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

S. Abdul Nazeer and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ.

Author:V. Ramasubramanian, J.

Citation: MANU/SC/1349/2022.

Read full Judgment here: Click here

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