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‘RSS has a definite and identifiable body’: Kerala HC quashes plea, maintains defamation suit against Kerala weekly


Kochi: The Kerala High Court quashed a petition filed by a leading weekly against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, stating that RSS has a definite and identifiable body, and its members have the locus standi to file a defamation complaint. The direction came in a petition that sought to quash the proceedings before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) based on a private complaint filed by the RSS State Secretary.


The RSS secretary had alleged that an article published in the weekly on February 27, 2011 contained claims that were defamatory and misleading, tarnishing reputation of RSS in the public. It could also promote enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, prejudicial to communal harmony, the Secretary had noted in the complaint.


Advocate C.P. Udayabhanu appearing for the petitioners argued that the State Secretary had no locus standi to represent the organisation, since RSS is not a definite and determinable body. ‘Only if there is a definite association or collection of persons capable of being identified that it can be said that the defamatory matter applies to all the members of the organisation’, the councel for the petitioners said. ‘Moreover, there was nothing to show in the complaint that the publication of imputation has been made with the intention, knowledge or belief, that it will harm the reputation of the person concerned’, he added.

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‘When an article is published in a newspaper containing imputations meant to harm the reputation of RSS, a complaint by an individual member of RSS is maintainable under Explanation 2 to Section 499 of IPC’, the Bench noted, while dismissing the petition.


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