Scandal, Defamation and injury to Reputation

Right to Good reputation is part of 

Fundamental right of life and freedom of expression

A forged letter used to make defamatory complaint:

A letter dated 22.4.2011 purported to have been written by Shri M.A. Khan, M.P., suggests that various properties had been purchased by respondent no.2 as benami and the copies of the sale deeds etc. filed alongwith the said letter fortify the same. The Government of India wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of A.P. on 5.5.2011 to conduct an enquiry in respect of alleged disproportionate assets made by the respondent no.2 by purchase of huge lands either by himself or in the name of his wife or through benamis. Shri M.A. Khan, M.P. vide letter dated 23.5.2011 pointed out to the Central Government that he had not signed the complaint and his signature had been forged.

Scandal; False allegations in a complaint constituting defamation:

Allegations against any person if found to be false or made forging some one else signature may affect his reputation. Reputation is a sort of right to enjoy the good opinion of others and it is a personal right and an enquiry to reputation is a personal injury. Thus, scandal and defamation are injurious to reputation. Reputation has been defined in dictionary as “to have a good name; the credit, honor, or character which is derived from a favourable public opinion or esteem and character by report”. Personal rights of a human being include the right of reputation. A good reputation is an element of personal security and is protected by the Constitution equally with the right to the enjoyment of life, liberty and property. Therefore, it has been held to be a necessary element in regard to right to life of a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 recognises the right to have opinions and the right of freedom of expression under Article 19 is subject to the right of reputation of others. Reputation is “not only a salt of life but the purest treasure and the most precious perfume of life.

[Supreme Court of India in    Umesh Kumar v. State of A.P.  relied upon the following previous cases to propound the above exposition of law: Smt. Kiran Bedi & Jinder Singh v. The Committee of Inquiry & Anr., AIR 1989 SC 714; Board of Trustees of the Port of Bombay v. Dilipkumar Raghavendranath Nadkarni & Ors., AIR 1983 SC 109; Nilgiris Bar Association v. TK Mahalingam & Anr., AIR 1998 SC 398; Dr. Mehmood Nayyar Azam v. State of Chattisgarh & Ors., AIR 2012 SC 2573; Vishwanath Sitaram Agrawal v. Sau Sarla Vishwanath Agrawal, AIR 2012 SC 586; and Kishore Samrite v. State of U.P. & Ors., (2013) 2 SCC 398.]