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2ND ANAND SWAROP GUPTA MEMORIAL NATIONAL MOOT COURT

COMPETITION– 2017

5TH -7TH APRIL 20017

BEFORE THE HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF INDIA

BABA SATYANANAND AND


AMARCHAND

VS

SILBIL MAGAZINE

ON SUBMISSION TO THE REGISTRY OF THR HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF


INDIA

MEMORIAL FOR THE APPELLANT-BABA SATYANANAND AND


AMARCHAND
TABLE OF CONTENTS

S.NO CONTENTS Page No

1. Table of Contents

2. List of Abbreviations

3. Index of Authorities

4. Statements of Jurisdiction

5. Statement of Facts

6. Summary of Arguments

7. Arguments Advanced

8. Prayer

9. Bibliography
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
INDEX OF AUTHORTIES

CASE Law
1. Dixon vs Holden, (1869) 7 Eq.488
2. Ram Jethmalani v. SubramaniyaSwamy
3. Anson v. Stuart
4. David Syme v. Canavan
5. Hulton Co. Vs Jones
6. Pullman v. Hill
7. HuthVs.Huth
8. PowellvsGelston
9. Neiman-Marcus v. Lait
10. De Witte v. Kearney &Trecker Corp
11. Fawcett Publications, Inc. v. Morris
12. Brady v. Ottaway Newspapers, Inc
13. D.P.Choudhary vs Manjulata
14. Morrison v. Ritihie& Co
s
STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION
STATEMENT OF FACTS
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS
ARGUMENT ADVANCED

1. Whether the parody amounts to defamation:-

Defamation is aninjury or damage to a person’s reputation in the community, because


reputation is such an intangible thing. A man’s reputation is his property, and if possible,
more valuable, than any other property1. Serious damage to a person’s reputation can cause
real harm to a person’s livelihood and well-being.
There are two types of defamation; libel and slander. Libel is a statement made in a
permanent form or in written and "slander applies to defamation made in a transitory form,
such as spoken words or gestures”. Another test which is suggested for distinguishing libel
and slander is that libel is addressed to the eye, whereas slander to the ear.
In the words of Dr. Winfield “Defamation is the publication of a statement which tends to
lower a person in the estimation of right thinking members of the society, generally or, which
tends to make them shun or avoid that person.”
For a defamation to occur, it must satisfy few essential elements. The essential elements are,
1. Statement must be defamatory;
2. The said statement must refer to the plaintiff;
3. The statement must be published.

1.1 Analyzing the essentials of defamation in the present case:-

1
Dixon vs Holden, (1869) 7 Eq.488
a) The parody by itself is prima facie defamatory.

Parody mimics a subject directly to produce a comical effect. The facts state that Silbil
magazine had published a parody column containing the description of Baba Satyanand
campaigning in an advertisement of a liquor brand. It had used a picture of Baba Satyanand
holding a liquor bottle in his hand and describing to his pupil about its importance and its
first-hand experience.
In this parody, it is to be noted that the representation is made in a permanent form i.e a
picture of the appellant supporting a social evil. Thus the type of defamation caused here is
libel and prima facie defamatory.
When referring to the case of Ram Jethmalani v. SubramaniyaSwamy, it was held that the
statement made by the defendant was prima facie defamatory.
Thus in the instant case as the parody refers to the appellant as a supporter of social evil (a
false statement), it is obvious that this parody would have an effect on other peoples attitude
to the appellant. This makes it obvious that the parody by itself is a defamation to the
appellant.
b) The statement refers to the plaintiff.

To succeed in an action of defamation a person must not only prove that the words were
defamatory but also that they refer to him. He must identify himself as the person defamed. 2it
is immaterial if that the defendent did not intend to defame the plaintiff.if the person to whom
the statement was published could reasonably infer that the statement reffered to he plaintiff,
the defendant is nevertheless liable.3
It is not necessary that the words should refer to the plaintiff by name. if from the
circumstances of the publication, reasonable people would think that the passage refers to the
plaintiff then the defendant would be held liable. It is sufficient if the plaintiff is referred to
by any means of description by his physical peculiarities which in the instant case is a parody
referring to the appellant.
When referring to the case of Anson v. Stuart, a defamatory statement was published in the
defendants newspaper referring to the physical features of the plaintiff, it was held that
though there were no statements directly referring to the plaintiff, the defendant was held
liable for the statement which referred the physical features of the plaintiff. Further in the
case of David Syme v. Canavan, it was held that if in any circumstances the description is
such that a person hearing or reading the alleged libel would reasonably believe that the
plaintiff was referred to that is sufficient reference to him.
Simalarly in the case of Hulton Co. Vs Jones, on the basis of a defamatory statement quoted
in a fictional article by the defendent in their newspaper, the Sunday Chronicle, the plaintiff
brought an action against the defendants. Though the defendants pleaded that the fictional
character was not reffering to the plaintiff and even though they did not know the plaintiff,
they were held liable.

2
.law of torts by P.S.A. Pillai pg.52
3
Law of atorts, Dr.R.K.Bangia
Thus in the present case as per facts it is clear that the parody column consists of a picture of
Baba Satyanand holding a liquor bottle, proving the parody to be ex facie referring to the
plaintiff.
c) Whether the statement was published.

The third essential element of defamation is that the statement or the picture must be
published. Publication means making the defamatory matter known to some person other
than the person defamed, and unless that is done ,no civil action for defamation lies 4.
Communication to the plaintiff himself is not enough because defamation is injury to the
reputation and reputation consists in the estimation in which others hold him and not a man’s
own opinion of himself .
For example, dictating a letter to one’s typist is enough publication as in the case of Pullman
v. Hill.Sending the defamatory letter to the plaintiff in a language supposed to be known to
the plaintiff is no defamation5.In the case of PowellvsGelston and in HuthVs.Huth even if the
father has opened his son’s letter or a butler had opened and read a letter meant for his
employer as there was not publication by the defendant ,defendant was not held not liable.
The element is obvious in the instant case. The suit was filed as a result of the publication of
the parody in the Silbil magazine. Thus there has been a publication of a defamation.
Thus in the instant case the parody column has all the essentials to be defamatory in nature.

2. Whether the defamation has spoiled the reputation of the ‘Satyas’

The second submission to the Hon’ble court is that there has occurred a defamation for the
whole of Baba Satyananda’s followers.
Individual members of groups that have been defamed generally have no cause of action
against the defamer. There are two exceptions to the general rule that individual members of
a defamed group have no cause of action. The first exception allows group members to
maintain individual actions where the defamation refers to every member of a small group,
because in such cases, the words may reasonably be understood to have personal reference
and application to any member of [the group], so that he is defamed as an
individual.6Although few courts have announced fixed rules defining the number of members
a small group may have7, most jurisdictions permit individual actions where the group
members number twenty-five or fewer. The Restatement (Second) of Torts states that
individual members of small groups may proceed even when the defamatory statement refers

4
5
6
Neiman-Marcus v. Lait, 13 F.R.D. 311, 315 (S.D.N.Y. 1952); De Witte v. Kearney &Trecker Corp., 265 Wis. 132,
137-38, 60 N.W.2d 748, 751 (1953) (labor union officials defamed as a group; each of the four individuals in
the group had a cause of action); W. PROSSER, HANDBOOK OF THE LAW OF TORTS § 111, at 750 (4th ed.
1971); RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF TORTS § 564A comment b (1976); Annot., 70 A.L.R.2d 1382, 1389 (1960).
7
For a compilation of the prevailing limitations in various jurisdictions, see LIBEL DEFENSE RESOURCE CENTER,
50 STATE SURVEY (1982).
to only some of them8. Several courts have agreed with this extension of the small group
exception9.
In Fawcett Publications, Inc. v. Morris10, appeal dismissed, a second-string player on a
seventy member college football team sued the defendant for publishing an article accusing
the team's players of using amphetamines during games. The Oklahoma Supreme Court
concluded that "while there is substantial precedent from other jurisdictions to the effect that
a member of a 'large group' may not recover in an individual action for a libelous publication
unless he is referred to personally, we have found no substantial reason why size alone would
be conclusive." Instead, because the team players were so well known and identified in
connection with the team, the court held that the article libeled every member of the team. A
New York appellate court also recently demonstrated its willingness to look beyond group
size. Brady v. Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.11
When comparing the group of Satyas to the general public, they still constitute a small group.
As in the parody, Baba Satyanand was described to be propagating liquor and its first-hand
experience, it refers to the Satyas also as the Satyas are strict followers of Baba Satyanand.
Thus it is Humbly submitted to the Hon’ble court that as the Satyas are defamed on the
whole, they are eligible to fight for their reputation.
3. Whether the parody has caused a personal distress?

Thirdly, it is humbly submitted that the parody has caused a personal distress. When reffering
again to the case of D.P.Choudhary vs Manjulata12the plaintiff Manjulata about 17 years of
age who belonged to a distinguished educated family of Jodhpur was falsely defeamed in a
news item .She was entiled to award of Rs 10,000/- by the was of general damages, as she
suffered a personal and mental distress.
4. Whether the disclamer can be used as a defense?

4.1
4.2 Intension to defame is not necessary:-
It is humbly submitted to Hon’ble High Court that claiming the disclaimer to state that the
parody was of innocent humor cannot hold good, since intention or malice is not necessary to
constitute a defamation.

8
RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF TORTS § 564A comment c (1976). Where the group is very small, a statement
directed at only a few, or even at one of the members may suffice to allow each member to sue. See, e.g.,
RESTATEMENT OF TORTS § 564 comment c, illustration 2 (1938) (statement that some member of B's
household has committed murder defames each member of B's household).
9
For example, in Neiman-Marcus v. Lait, 13 F.R.D. 311 (S.D.N.Y. 1952), individuals within a department store's
twenty-five member male sales staff maintained an action against an author who had written that "most" of
the salesmen were "faggots" and "fairies." Id at 316; see also Cushman v. Day, 43 Or. App. 123, 130, 602 P.2d
327, 331-32 (1979) ("When all or a significant portion of a small group are defamed, each individual in the
group may be found to have been defamed.").
10
, 377 P.2d 42 (Okla. 1962)376 U.S. 513 (1963),
11
84 A.D.2d 226, 445 N.Y.S.2d 786 (1981).
12
A.I.R 1997 Raj. 170
When the words are considered to be defamatory by the person to whom the statement is
published, there is a defamation, even though the person making the statement believed it to
be innocent.13
In Morrison v. Ritihie& Co.,14 the defendants in good faith published a mistaken statement
that the plaintiff had given birth to twins. The plaintiff had been married only two months
ago. Even though the defendants were ignorant of this fact they were held liable.

13
Law of torts Dr.R.K. Bhangia.
14
(1902) 4 F. 654 (a Scottish Court of Session decision).
PRAYER

In light of the issues raised, arguments advanced and authorities cited, the counsel for the
Appellant humbly prays that the Hon’ble Court be pleased to adjudge, hold and declare:

And pass any order that this Hon’ble court may deem fit in the interest of equity, justice and
good conscience.
And for this act of kindness, the counsel for the Appellant shall duty bound forever pray.
Sd/-
(Counsel for Appellant)
BIBLIOGRAPHY