Supreme Court Upholds Constitutional Validity of Criminal Defamation Law; Quashes Petition By Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal & Subramanian Swamy

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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had filed a petition against the various criminal defamation laws, citing that they are fundamentally against freedom of speech and expression.

Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant quashed their petition, stating, criminal defamation law doesn’t have any “chilling effect on freedom of speech”.

The petition was against relevant sections of IPC and CrPC, mainly Section 499 of Indian Penal Code and Section 500 of Civil Law; and by rejecting their petitions, the apex court has upheld the constitutional validity of such laws which protect an Indian citizen’s reputation and social standing.

The bench said, “Right to free speech is not absolute. It does not mean freedom to hurt another’s reputation which is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution,”

Thus, all defamation charges against Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal (filed by Arin Jaitley) and Subramanian Swamy remains valid.

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