11. An analysis of the above reveals that to constitute an offence of defamation it requires a person to make some imputation concerning any other person;

(i) Such imputation must be made either

(a) With intention, or

(b) Knowledge, or

(c) Having a reason to believe

that such an imputation will harm the reputation of the person against whom the imputation is made.

(ii) Imputation could be, by

(a) Words, either spoken or written, or

(b) By making signs, or

(c) Visible representations

(iii) Imputation could be either made or published.

The difference between making of an imputation and publishing the same is:

If ‘X’ tells ‘Y’ that ‘Y’ is a criminal – ‘X’ makes an imputation.

If ‘X’ tells ‘Z’ that ‘Y’ is a criminal – ‘X’ publishes the imputation.

The essence of publication in the context of Section 499 is the communication of defamatory imputation to persons other than the persons against whom the imputation is made. [Khima Nand v. Emperor , (1937) 38 Cri LJ 806 (All); Amar Singh v. K.S. Badalia, (1965) 2 Cri LJ 693 (Pat)]

12. Committing any act which constitutes defamation under Section 499 IPC is punishable offence under Section 500 IPC. Printing or engraving any defamatory material is altogether a different offence under Section 501 IPC. Offering for sale or selling any such printed or engraved defamatory material is yet another distinct offence under Section 502 IPC.

13. If the content of any news item carried in a newspaper is defamatory as defined under Section 499 IPC, the mere printing of such material “knowing or having good reason to believe that such matter is defamatory” itself constitutes a distinct offence under Section 501 IPC. The sale or offering for sale of such printed “substance containing defamatory matter” “knowing that it contains such matter” is a distinct offence under Section 502 IPC.

14. Whether an accused (such as the respondent) against whom a complaint is registered under various Sections of the IPC (Sections 500, 501 & 502 IPC) could be convicted for any of those offences depends upon the evidence regarding the existence of the facts relevant to constitute those offences.

15. In the context of the facts of the present case, first of all, it must be established that the matter printed and offered for sale is defamatory within the meaning of the expression under Section 499 IPC. If so proved, the next step would be to examine the question whether the accused committed the acts which constitute the offence of which he is charged with the requisite intention or knowledge etc. to make his acts culpable.