New Delhi: The Supreme Court has upheld defamation as a criminal offence under Indian Penal Code. The apex court has dismissed petition by several leaders including Subramanian Swamy, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal among others.
The court said that even freedom of speech should have reasonable restrictions.
The petitioners had argued the Indian Penal Code Sections 499 and 500, which prescribe a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment for defamation, were outdated and inconsistent with the citizens’ right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
The verdict was delivered by the two-judge bench of justice Dipak Misra and justice Prafulla C Pant. The bench had reserved its verdict on the petition in August 2015 after hearing the matter for 18 days.