Cop Informing Press About Any Alleged Crime Isn’t Relatable To Discharge Of Official Duties: MP HC Allows Prosecution Of Police Officer For Defamation [Read Order]

Cop Informing Press About Any Alleged Crime Isn’t Relatable To Discharge Of Official Duties: MP HC Allows Prosecution Of Police Officer For Defamation [Read Order]

A DySP in the discharge of his duties as a police officer is neither required nor expected to inform any newspaper or media personnel about the commission of certain alleged crime which comes to his knowledge, the court said.

Allowing prosecution of a police officer for defamation, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that a police officer is neither required nor expected to inform any newspaper or media personnel about the commission of a certain alleged crime which comes to his knowledge.

The defamation complaint was filed by a person against the police officer, an editor and publisher of the newspaper after a headline appeared in the newspaper accusing him of being involved in the business of illegal trade of kerosene. The news item further disclosed that the police officer was the source of information.

The police officer then approached the high court against the trial judge taking cognizance contending that the entire prosecution arising out of the complaint was hit by Section 197 CrPC. He contended that the act giving rise to the offence was committed during discharge of official duties; the cognizance of such an offence could not have been taken by the trial court in the absence of sanction for prosecution by the competent authority.

The issue before the high court was whether the act of informing the newspaper by the police officer is in any manner relatable to discharge of official duties so as to get protection under Section 197 of the CrPC.

The court observed: “A DySP in discharge of his duties as a police officer is neither required nor expected to inform any newspaper or media personnel about commission of certain alleged crime which comes to his knowledge. This kind of act of informing the newspaper about any crime can neither be treated to be directly related to the act of discharge of official duties or to act in purported discharge of official duties.”

Dismissing his plea, the court said the police officer intimating the factum of the offence of illegal trade of kerosene, whether genuine or false, is not in any manner relatable to the discharge of official duties.

Read the Order Here