On 13 May 2016 The Supreme Court agreed with constitutional validity of penal laws on defamation.
The two-judge bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant said the right to life under Article 21 includes the right to reputation.
• It said that the current criminal defamation law is constitutionally valid.
• It held that criminalization of defamation to protect individual dignity of life and reputation is a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right of free speech and expression.
• The court said that Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code make defamation a criminal offence.
• The bench said that the freedom of right to speech and expression does not confer any right to a person to trample the reputation of others.
• It said that defaming a person amounts to offence against society and the government is entitled to lodge a case against a person under criminal defamation law.
• The bench in its 268-page verdict dismissed apprehensions and said that criminal defamation may have a chilling effect on the freedom to circulate one’s independent view.
Besides, the petitioners who are facing criminal defamation trial were given eight weeks time to approach the High Court’s concerned under Article 226 and Section 482 of the Cr.