Section 199 of CrPC

Section 199 of CrPC which allows public servants to file a complaint in a sessions court through a public prosecutor for alleged defamatory comments on their official acts.

Why in news?
Its validity was challenged in Supreme Court.
  • Calling public servants a “different class”, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of a provision.
  • Upholding the constitutional validity of criminal defamation the court rejected demands to strike down Section 199(2) to (4) of the Cr.PC.
  • The court rejected the argument that this section creates a separate class. It also dismissed the contention that the classification enumerated in this provision has no rationale and does not bear constitutional scrutiny.
  • The court said Public functions stand on a different footing. The provision gives them protection for their official acts. There cannot be defamatory attacks on them because of discharge of their due functions. In that sense, they constitute a different class.
  • Endorsing a public servant’s right to use the State machinery to fight a defamation case against another citizen, the apex court reasoned, “one is bound to tolerate criticism, dissent and discordance but not expected to tolerate defamatory attack.”



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