Supreme Court Clears charges on Newspaper Owner in Defamation Case Linked to Report Against Advocate


LI Network

Published on: January 31, 2024 at 11:50 IST

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court has dismissed a criminal defamation case filed against the owner of the Madhya Pradesh-based daily newspaper ‘Sunday Blast.’

The case revolved around a 2013 article titled “Advocate ne pan masala vyavasayi par karaya jhuta mamla darj” (Advocate files false case against Pan Masala trader).

Although the initial complaint was rejected by the Judicial Magistrate, the Sessions Court reinstated it. The Madhya Pradesh High Court upheld the restoration, prompting the accused newspaper owner to approach the Supreme Court.

The apex court noted that the Magistrate had initially rejected the complaint, citing the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Concurring with this perspective, the bench, comprised of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, affirmed that the news article was published in good faith, exercising the constitutionally enshrined Fundamental Right of Freedom of Speech and Expression.

The Supreme Court emphasized that the Magistrate’s decision was neither illegal nor unjustified, precluding the need for intervention by the Sessions Court or the High Court.

Consequently, the court ordered the quashing of all proceedings initiated against the accused appellant based on the complaint filed under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The case details are identified as SANJAY UPADHYA VERSUS ANAND DUBEY, with the citation 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 67.

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