The first part of this article can be accessed here.
There is another factor that may well have arisen by the criminal defamation case filed by Union Minister, Arun Jaitley in March 2015 against Arvind Kejriwal. That factor is the leeway which the lawyer of the accused took to ask all kinds of unrelated questions of the complainant.
That kind of customary delay and the 10 exceptions to the imposition of Section 499 IPC is one main reason why “Defamation cases in India usually have sunken into irrelevancy due to delays or settlements.” (Practising Supreme Court lawyer in his blog in “The Wall Street Journal”
Does this all mean that motor mouths like the “Caste Cowboys” of Gujarat be allowed to get away with their slur, slander, and mud they throw at the nation’s Prime Minister who served with a clean image three terms of chief ministership and nearly four years of 24 by seven dedication in his present position? No way, absolutely not. Our defamation legislation certainly needs a review in order to deliver justice to the complainant. So will our Election Commission of India seriously examine this issue?
The Election Commission should ban any campaign that violates the norms of Parliamentary language.
Suggestions in this regard are:
1. Make all defamation cases strictly time-bound to three months from the date of filing, with all evidence in court being written submissions signed by the contesting parties and their lawyers.
2. Levy a court fee payable by the accused; a minimum of Rs.1,00,000/- should be an adequate dampener on those who speak without thinking.
3. Do not make it compulsory for the complainant in a criminal defamation case to appear at each trial hearing. Imagine a Prime Minister attending a trial each and every time before a court. The signing of an appropriate affidavit at the beginning of the trial ought to suffice. The Supreme Court should draft that affidavit.
4. Increase the imprisonment of the accused from two years to five years so that the accused can also be prevented from contesting and voting in any further government election of any state or a municipal corporation for 10 years from the date of conviction.
5. The Election Commission should ban any campaign that violates the norms of Parliamentary language, and levy a fine of 1,00,000/- rupees for every offense. For the information of the reader, Wikipedia says that the Indian Parliament in 2012, published a book of words and phrases that were considered to be unparliamentary: (i) Bad Man (ii) Badmashi (iii) Bag of shit (iv) Bandicoot (v) Communist (sic) (vi) Double-minded (vii) Goonda (viii) Rat (ix) Ringmaster (x) Scumbag
The EC should add “Corrupt”, “Eating habits” and some more words into its suggested rulebook for election campaigns.
For the rest, let Article 19(1) of our Constitution prevail with all its stipulated restrictions.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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