Remedy of Criminal Defamation:
#MeToo campaign had started in India a few years ago, after similar incidents were reported in Hollywood about Harvey Weinstein. Then Minister MJ Akbar was accused of sexual harassment by a journalist. Minister sued the journalist for criminal defamation and after trial lost.
The criminal complaint was doomed from the beginning. There are two reasons and both are legal reasons. First is the nature of proof. To prove a criminal complaint the evidence must be of such quality so as to prove beyond reasonable doubt that accused is guilty.
Second is that the an accused has a very light burden to prove. As following extract will explain, the accused can deny the allegation on oath and unless her ‘truthful character’ is impeached this evidence is enough to disprove.
It was a case of one testimony against another duly corroborated by the presence of Akbar at the place and time. Unless the complainant could deny the place and his presence at the given time, this complaint was non-starter.Continue reading