The Supreme Court Monday agreed to examine whether companies can file criminal defamation cases against individuals alleging loss of reputation.
A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra maintained that a company, or a corporate body, undoubtedly has a reputation, but it would be a matter of deliberation whether this entitles them to register cases of criminal defamation.
The bench was hearing a petition moved by Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai, who was slapped with a criminal defamation case by Essar Power MP Ltd for allegedly making offensive statements against the company.
Pillai’s counsel Shyam Diwan contended that a company cannot claim violation of its fundamental right under Article 21 (right to life, liberty and live with dignity) in filing a criminal defamation case.
“It is an important issue. We can’t just let it go. The issue needs to be examined,” the bench said as it gave Essar eight weeks to file its reply to Pillai’s petition. ENS