Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India, Ministry of Law - Supreme Court

 Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India, Ministry of Law  - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2016 - 

 

On 13th May, 2016, in the case of Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India, Ministry of Law & Ors. [Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 184 of 2014], while examining the law on criminal defamation, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 199 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It was held that “the right to reputation is a constituent of Article 21 of the Constitution” and that reputation of “one cannot be allowed to be crucified at the altar of the other’s right of free speech. The legislature in its wisdom has not thought it appropriate to abolish criminality of defamation in the obtaining social climate.” It was further held that the “right to freedom of speech and expression is a highly valued and cherished right but the Constitution conceives of reasonable restriction. In that context criminal defamation which is in existence in the form of Sections 499 and 500 IPC is not a restriction on free speech that can be characterized as disproportionate. Right to free speech cannot mean that a citizen can defame the other.”

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