Essay

Libel is no crime

Print edition : August 05, 2016

Sir James Goldsmith. There have been only two modern instances in which criminal libel has been invoked by private individuals as part of a vendetta against their journalistic tormentors. One was in 1977 by Sir James Goldsmith against the editor of “Private Eye”. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The Supreme Court’s recent judgment pronouncing defamation as a criminal offence is out of sync with the law in the democratic world, where it is essentially a private affair and entails damages in a civil suit.

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