HC upholds conviction of magazine publisher for publishing defamatory article against IAS officer 22 years ago

BA Harish Gowda, then director of PU Education and CET Cell, filed a complaint in 2000 while on duty

BA Harish Gowda, then director of PU Education and CET Cell, filed a complaint in 2000 while on duty

The Karnataka High Court upheld the conviction and sentence of a magazine publisher for publishing a defamatory article 22 years ago against BA Harish Gowda, then Director of the Department of Pre-University Education and Cell THIS.

Judge HP Sandesh passed the order while denying a motion filed by Ravi Kumar, editor, printer, publisher and journalist of Parivala Patrike.

Sentencing Ravi Kumar under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, the Magistrate Court had sentenced him to six months in jail and fined ₹10,000.

Mr Gowda, a retired IAS officer, had made the complaint in 2000 while on duty.

Refusing to intervene in the conviction and sentence, the High Court said no fault could be found with the orders of the trial courts when the publisher had “produced no evidence before the trial court to support his assertion that the article had been published in good and due form”. faith and for the public good”.

The High Court also noted that the convict had produced no evidence in support of the article in which certain imputations were made against Mr Gowda.

The trial courts, in passing sentence, had taken note of enormous hardship, suffering, mental suffering and financial loss over a very long period of almost 17 years caused to the plaintiff to establish that false statements had been made against him in the article, says the High Court.

Although the High Court was of the view that the editor’s sentence was less severe for defaming the then-serving IAS officer, it rejected Mr Gowda’s request for a higher sentence.

Citing various Supreme Court verdicts and provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the High Court said there was no provision in Cr. CP which allows the victim/complainant to file an appeal requesting an improvement of the sentence because only the State has such a right.

However, the High Court said the Union Government should consider amending Cr. PC to allow complainants/victims to also file an appeal requesting an improvement in sentence.

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