In the United States, a defendant who makes false statements to a public official may face a civil suit if the public official fails to file a response within five years.
A defamation case against a journalist or a news outlet that publishes a false report of the defamation may be a criminal matter if the publication is not the result of malicious intent.
But in India, a defamation lawsuit may be brought under the Criminal Procedure Code, which provides for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for defamation.
A Delhi court on Wednesday sentenced a Delhi-based defence lawyer, Prashant Bhattacharya, to six months imprisonment for defaming his client, the chief minister of Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A defamation suit is a legal proceeding in which the defendant claims that the plaintiff has defamed them and that the public has a right to know the truth.
The plaintiff can then seek damages from the defendant for any damage suffered.
Bhattachary’s lawyers had sought a sentence of six months jail, and the court rejected that request.
The case came to light when the Delhi High Court ordered the Delhi Police to investigate Bhattas actions and take action against him, according to news reports.
A senior police officer in the Delhi police told the court that Bhatts lawyer had made false statements and that a complaint had been lodged with the Delhi court.
On April 12, Bhattaras lawyers filed a defamation suit against the AAP government, alleging that it had tried to stop the publication of a controversial book on Delhi’s traffic jams by ordering the arrest of two AAP leaders in connection with the book.
The defamation suit claimed that the two leaders were involved in an alleged conspiracy to stop a book that criticised the AAP’s government and that they were allegedly responsible for causing injury to the public.
In a statement to NDTV, the Delhi government said that it was aware of the case and that it has taken a stern view against any defamation in public.
“The Delhi Police has lodged a case against the Delhi chief minister against those involved in defaming him,” it said.
The AAP had also condemned the case, saying it is an attempt to defame the chief of Delhi.