Difference between Defamation and Sedition

Difference between Defamation and Sedition

Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code contains the definition of defamation. In simple terms, defamation means the act of tarnishing the image of a person in front of the other people. 

The section defines defamation as the act of harming the reputation of a person by words which are either spoken or written or by certain signs or visible representations.

 These acts are either published or made with the intention of harming the person’s reputation or knowing that the act would harm the reputation of the person. As easy as it may seem prima facie, defamation is not that easy to understand. One may be surprised to know that these acts are very common in our day to day lives yet people know less about them. Therefore, if students need law assignment help to work upon defamation, they must understand the information that is going to be provided to them below. 

When you hint to other people that the particular person you are talking about is of questionable character or make any such remark hinting the same, you are making a defamatory remark that tends to bring down the reputation of the person in the eyes of the others. Let us understand the conditions that need to be satisfied for defamation to have occurred so that the students may effectively get assignment help:

  • For defamation to occur, words can be spoken or intended to be spoken, signs or visible representations are made.
  • Such acts mentioned above should have been published (publication does not means printing it but exposition of the information in front of the third person or a group of people). For example, A says B is a cheater but only in front of B and himself. In such a case, there is no defamation as no third party is present. On the contrary, if A does the same in a public place where there are lots of people listening to him, A is liable for defamation of B.
  • The acts done must be done deliberately and voluntarily and with the intention of harming the image of the person concerned. The person defaming must know that his remark would harm the person or should have the reason to believe the same.
  • And above all, the remark should tarnish the image of the person.

When we talk about publication of a defamatory remark, people may get confused as to who has to be held liable in such a case, since there are a number of parties involved in the process. For example, A publishes in a newspaper that B forced his signature to crack a deal. 

The publishing process involves A who wrote the information, X who is the press owner and Y who is the editor. In this case, all three are liable for defamation of B, A for obvious reasons for giving the remark, X and Y because they had the knowledge that whatever was going to be published would harm the image of B. 

Exceptions to the case of defamation can be publishing: 

  • The truth in public interest.
  • Affair comment on the discharge of duties by public servant.
  • A lawful censure.
  • The proceedings of the court.
  • Opinion in good faith.
  • A comment on the public performance of an artist. 

Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code contains the definition of sedition. Critics called sedition as a colonial hangover since the law came into work from the time of the Britishers. 

Students, if they need law assignment help must know the differences between defamation and sedition. Therefore, let us understand the definition of sedition by understanding the conditions that should be satisfied for the crime to have happened:

  • Words are either spoken or written or signs of visible representation are made.
  • These acts incite hatred for the government or attempts to do the same.
  • These acts provoke the people to take up arms against the government established by law.
  • The government being targeted should be established by law (in India).
  • The provocation is done to remove the government from power by following unlawful means rather than voting it out in a lawful manner.

Therefore, sedition is the act of provoking people against the state. In the Indian scenario, the Naxalites take the same way of functioning. 

The law originated during the British era when the Britishers charged the Indian nationalist who incited the commoners to revolt against the government. The laws such as sedition and defamation witnessed a clear clash between them and the right to freedom of speech and expression.

As happened in defamation, publication in case of sedition also refers to the same process. Again, since it comes in the category of the criminal law, mental intention or mens rea is important for the crime to have happened. 

For example, the Naxalite leader A incites the people in the region to pick up arms against the government established by law, since their demands are not being fulfilled. A can be held liable for sedition. Another example: A is a political leader and since he is not satisfied with the government’s policies, he requests people to vote out the government. 

In this case, A is not liable for sedition because he was recommending a lawful means of removing the government from power, that is by voting it out.

Positive criticisms against the government or any office policies and a recommendation to thus vote out the government do not constitute sedition. Also, if somebody is hinting at the people constituting the government being removed form power rather than the institution of the government itself, this again does not amount to sedition. 

These were a few basic points about defamation and sedition that students can refer to in order to get assignment help and do their task effectively.