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Kerala High Court quashes plea against RSS, maintains defamation suit against journal

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The Kerala High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a leading weekly against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, stating that RSS has a definite and identifiable body, and its members have the locus standi to file a defamation complaint.
The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Sophy Thomas passed the order on a petition filed by the Editor of Mathrubhumi Illustrated Weekly, Kozhikode, seeking to quash the entire proceedings in a defamation case initiated against the weekly on a complaint by the RSS Secretary. 
The RSS secretary had alleged that an article published in the weekly on February 27, 2011 contained claims that were defamatory and misleading, tarnishing RSS’ reputation in the public. It could also promote enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, the Secretary had said in the complaint. 

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The petitioners submitted that the Secretary had no locus standi to represent the organisation of RSS. 

“It cannot be said RSS is a definite and determinable body. Only if there is a definite association or collection of persons capable of being identified that it can be said that the defamatory matter applies to all the members of the organisation,” said the petitioners. 

The Bench noted that the complaint filed by a member of RSS was maintainable under Explanation 2 to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

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