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HC upholds conviction of magazine editor for publishing defamatory article against IAS officer 22 years ago – Mrit News

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B.A. Harish Gowda, then director of PU Education and CET Cell, had filed case in 2000 when he was in service

B.A. Harish Gowda, then director of PU Education and CET Cell, had filed case in 2000 when he was in service

The High Court of Karnataka has upheld the conviction and sentence imposed on the editor of a magazine for publishing a defamatory article 22 years ago against B.A. Harish Gowda, then Director of the Pre-University Education Department and CET Cell.

Justice H.P. Sandesh passed the order while dismissing a petition filed by Ravi Kumar, who is the editor, printer, publisher, and reporter of Parivala Patrike.

Convicting Ravi Kumar under Section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, the trial court had sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for six months and pay a fine of ₹10,000.

Mr. Gowda, a retired IAS officer, had filed the complaint in 2000 when he was in service.

Refusing to interfere with the conviction and sentence, the High Court said that no fault could be found with the orders of the trial courts when the editor had “not produced any evidence before the trial court to substantiate his contention that the article was published with good faith and for the public good.”

The High Court also noted that the convict had failed to produce any material in support of the article in which certain imputations were made against Mr. Gowda.

The trial courts, in imposing the sentence, had taken note of enormous hardship, suffering, mental agony, and financial loss over a very long period lasting nearly 17 years caused to the complainant to establish that false utterance was made against him in the article, the High Court said.

Even though the High Court was of the view that the sentence imposed on the editor was on the lower side for defaming the then serving IAS officer, it rejected Mr. Gowda’s plea for enhancing the sentence.

Citing various verdicts of the apex court and provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the High Court said there was no provision in the Cr. PC that allows victim/complainant to file an appeal seeking enhancement of sentence as it is only the State that is vested with such right.

However, the High Court said that the Union government required to consider amending the Cr. PC to enable complainants/victims also to file appeal seeking enhancement of sentence.

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