Criminal Appeal No. 1011 of 2005. Case: B. R. K. Murthy Vs The State of A.P., through the Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P., At Hyderabad [Alongwith Criminal Appeal No. 1032 of 2005]. High Court of Andhra Pradesh (India)

Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 1011 of 2005
CounselFor Appellant: Sri. P.V. Chalapathi Rao and Sri. Ch. Janardhan Reddy, Advs. and For Respondents: The Public Prosecutor
JudgesSri K.S. Appa Rao, J.
IssueCode of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) - Sections 199(2)(4)(B), 428; Indian Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 106; Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) (IPC) - Sections 120B, 34, 35, 499, 500, 501, 502
Citation2013 CriLJ 1602
Judgement DateSeptember 04, 2012
CourtHigh Court of Andhra Pradesh (India)


Sri K.S. Appa Rao, J., (At Hyderabad)

  1. Criminal Appeal No. 1011 of 2005 and Criminal Appeal No. 1032 of 2005 are filed by A2 and Al, respectively, being aggrieved by the judgment dated 13.06.2005 in C.C. No. 1 of 2003 on the file of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge, at Hyderabad. Since the subject matter of both the appeals is one and the same, they are being disposed of by this common judgment. For the sake of convenience, they would be referred to as they were arrayed in C.C. No. 1 of 2003.

  2. On the complaint filed under Section 199(2)(4)(B) Cr. P.C. by the Public Prosecutor with the previous sanction of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, vide G.O. Rt. No. 6608, General Admn (SC. X) Department, dated 27.12.2002, the trial Court took cognizance of the matter for the offences punishable under Sections 500, 501 and 502 r/w 35 IPC against the accused. A1 was convicted for the offences under Section 500, 501 and 502 IPC, and A2 was convicted for the offence under Section 500 IPC.

  3. The averments in the complaint briefly reads as follows:

    Sri B. Vijaya Sekhar (A1) is the Editor of the Telugu Weekly Journal named "Maa Bhoomi" and Sri V.R.K. Murthy (A2) is the Special Correspondent of the said weekly. The accused by publishing the news item dated 22.07.2002 in their journal, regarding the conduct of the Sri A. Shiva Shankar, IPS, Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) (hereinafter referred to as "the public servant") in discharge of public functions/duties have defamed the public servant. A1 is the owner and proprietor of M/s i-Power Media Private Limited, and A2, the Special Correspondent were responsible for printing and publication of the defamatory article published in "Maa Bhoomi".

  4. The complainant submits that Sri A. Sivasankar is an IPS Officer from Andhra Pradesh Cadre and is presently working as Inspector General of Police (Intelligence), Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, herein referred to as the "public servant" in this complaint. The public servant assumed office of the above said assignment on 30.06.1997 till the date of filing the complaint. The accused herein defamed the public servant by publishing the news item dated 22.07.2002. The imputations made in the publication casts a reflection on the moral and intellectual character and integrity of the public servant besides making allegations which are highly defamatory, false and baseless. The public servant herein is a post-graduate in Science and was selected and joined the Indian Police Service in the year 1997, and he has held various posts in the A.P. State Government, which include Inspector General for Vigilance and Civil Supplies, Inspector General of Police, A.P. Special Police, Additional Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, and presently working as Inspector General of Police (Intelligence), and he is a recipient of Indian Police Medal for the year 1994 and President's Police Medal for the year 2001. He is a senior officer with unquestionable integrity, honesty and zeal for public service and various responsible positions held by him proved his dynamism and administrative competence, and therefore, he is a accomplished, distinguished and respected individual not only in the administrative cadre but also in the society. It is further stated that on assumption of the charge of Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) on 30.06.1997, he took all steps in gathering information in order to intimate the Government, Police Department and other Government departments and concerned agencies about the latest developments and emerging situations on social, factional, communal, extremist, anti-national and subversive activities in the State and the resultant ramifications on the maintenance of law and order in the State. While the facts stood thus, the public servant was taken aback when he read the news item published in the "Maa Bhoomi" journal on 22.07.2002 with a caption "Sivasankar by Chitra Vichitra Kathanalu", which contained baseless and false allegations against him, defaming him and projecting him as corrupt and as a person who indulged in lavish dinners, frivolous pleasures and spent days with cine heroines and that one ex-MP of Congress and a builder was extending cooperation to him, and that his wife had lodged a complaint with the Chief Minister.

  5. The impugned news item is extracted hereunder:

  6. It is further stated that the allegations levelled against him are highly defamatory, baseless and published and circulated by the accused without proper care and caution, with dishonest and malicious intention, against all norms of fair journalism and published in the most irresponsible and unethical manner with a view to malign his character and reputation, and that the journal has circulation through out the State and that after seeing the said publication, some of his acquaintances started enquiring about the validity of news item and looked down upon him. It is stated that A1 and A2, who are none other than the Editor and Special Correspondent/Reporter of the "Maa Bhoomi" Journal published the said defamatory publication in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy with a malicious and dishonest intention, and that the publication was not made in good faith or public good, and thereby the accused committed the offence punishable under Sections 500, 501 and 502 r/w 34 IPC and Section 120B IPC.

  7. The trial Court had taken cognizance of the matter under Section 500, 501 and 502 IPC. Before the trial Court, on behalf of the complainant, as many as six witnesses were examined as PWs. 1 to 6, and marked eight exhibits as Exs. P1 to P5(a); and on behalf of the accused, A2 was examined as DW1 and Ex. D1 was marked.

  8. The trial Court, after analysing the evidence on record, found the accused guilty of the charges framed against them, and accordingly convicted A1 for the offences punishable under Sections 500, 501 and 502 IPC and sentenced him to undergo Simple Imprisonment for one year and all the above sentences shall run concurrently; and convicted A2 for the offence punishable under Section 500 IPC and sentenced him to undergo Simple Imprisonment for one year. The remand period, if any, undergone by A1 and A2 shall be set off under Section 428 Cr. P.C. Aggrieved thereby, the present appeals are filed by A1 and A2.

  9. Learned counsel appearing for appellant/A1 argued that the Court below ought to have seen that the publication of news item in page Nos. 36, 37 and 38 in Ex. P1 was in the supervision of the Editor-in-Chief by name Rajendra, which was printed and published by i-Power Media Private Limited, which belongs to the said Rajendra and the news item published in Ex. P1, and A1 is in no way concerned with the news item, and the Court below ought to have considered the evidence of DW1 that on 22.07.2002, the appellant was not in the city and the appellant had no knowledge of the publication of the news item at Page No. 38 of Ex. P1(b), and the Court below ought to have seen that after publication of news item on 22.07.2002, after a lapse of more than five months, a complaint was made by PW1 through the Public Prosecutor by obtaining previous sanction vide G.O. Rt. No. 6608, dated 27.12.2002 and till that time no notice was given to the appellant raising any objection about the publication of news item, and as such, the complaint itself is...

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