How do I reply to a defamation legal notice?

How do I reply to a defamation legal notice?

Date : 08 Nov, 2019

Post By Bhupender Tanwar

When to send a defamation legal notice?

When to send a defamation legal notice

The criminal defamation suit under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was filed in August 2018 by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB), in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah is a director against Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. Recently a bailable warrant has been issued by a metropolitan magistrate court or not appearing for a defamation suit hearing despite being issued summons two times.

What is Defamation?

Defamation relates to making a false statement against a person or a business that damages their reputation or tarnishes their image in society. Compensation can be claimed if any person or entity feels that they have been publicly insulted. 

 Legal notice for defamation is kind of a warning sent to the someone making a defamatory statement before actually going forward with the court proceedings. It is important to make a reply to legal notice for defamation as otherwise, you could find yourself fighting the case in the court of law.

When to send a legal notice for defamation?

Defamation is dealt under  Section 499 of IPC where a person can seek remedy under the criminal law or under the Code of Civil Procedure.

Defamation in India is classified into two categories so when a person tarnishes someone’s image or reputation using defamatory words, gestures or other transitory forms, then it's called defamation by slander and when writing or printing something, then it's called defamation by libel.

Legal notice for defamation can only be sent by an individual and not his parents, friends or family members. A defamation notice must be strongly drafted and thus taking the help of an expert lawyer to draft such notice is highly advisable. Lawtendo empanels over 15000+ lawyers and can find the right lawyer for your case within your reach and budget for the same.

In order to sue someone for a defamatory statement, there are six elements that must be satisfied:

  1. The statement must be false: If the statement made by the person in public holds true, there could be no case formed against them.

  1. The statement cannot be privileged: A privileged statements cannot be brought in a defamation suit. A privileged statement is where a statement made, repeats material from a court proceeding, or other public documents. 

  1. The statement made cannot be an opinion: Opinion of an individual on anything cannot be treated as a defamatory remark. For instance, Mr X may say that he feels Mr Y is not a good human being. Such a statement which comes in the form of opinion by a person (may hold true or false) is not a ground for a defamation suit.

  1. The statement must be “published”: The statement made must be heard or read by someone other than the person making the defamation claim. For example, a private e-mail between two parties is not defamation. However, if the e-mail is sent to co-workers or friends or is posted in public groups, sites or forums, then this likely qualifies as a publication for the purposes of defamation.

  1. The statement must actually cause reputation damage: Statements about someone that would make others not want to associate with them, accuses them of a crime, having a loathsome disease, or concerns a person being unchaste are all examples of defamatory statements that cause actual reputation harm.

  1. The statement must be believable in general or by a reasonable person:  If one cannot seriously believe the statement was true, it does not constitute defamation.

Laws pertaining to the legal notice of defamation

A defamation notice is governed by the following two laws:

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC)

Indian Penal Code, 1862 (IPC)

Right to a reputation for an individual is an important and integral right and it is also listed as a fundamental right and guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution.


Defamation is also restricted under the freedom of speech and expression mentioned under Article 19 (1)(a).

Defamation in India can be filed under both civil and criminal procedures. A suit can be filed under The Court of Civil Judge Junior Division, The Munsif, The Court of Civil Judge Senior Division or the Sub-Judge.

If anyone does anything that covers the definition of defamation under Section 499 of IPC, then that person can face punishment under Section 500 of IPC.

Drafting a legal notice for defamation

Consulting a domain expert lawyer, with good drafting skills should be the first step in the filing of a legal notice. Lawtendo empanels more than 15000 lawyers for the purpose of allowing people to find expert legal advice online through them and also to provide lawyers close to your area of residence.

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