Supreme Court upholds Kerala HC’s decision on RSS member’s complaint against defamation

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has upheld the Kerala High Court decision wherein it was held that any member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has the ‘locus standi’ to maintain a complaint against organization’s defamation.

A bench of justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose in its March 25 order refused to entertain a petition challenging a Kerala High Court order.

“Having heard learned counsel for the petitioner and on perusal of the record, we do not find any reason to entertain this petition under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The petition seeking special leave to appeal is, accordingly, dismissed,” the top court said.

Kerala High Court has recently held that any member of RSS has the ‘locus standi’ to maintain a complaint against the organization’s defamation.

“Since RSS is a definite and identifiable body as held by the High Court of Allahabad and asserted by the Apex Court vide decisions cited supra, the contention of the petitioners that the first respondent has no locus standi to maintain a complaint under Section 500 of Indian Penal Code is not tenable. So this is liable to be dismissed,” the Kerala High Court had ruled.

The Kerala High Court had directed the trial court to expedite the trial and to dispose of the case, in accordance with the law, without any further.

The High Court was hearing a plea filed by the accused in a defamation case seeking to quash entire proceedings in the case before an Ernakulam Court.

The complaint was initiated against Mathrubhoomi Illustrated Weekly, on a private complaint filed by the Kerala State Secretary of the RSS, alleging offences punishable under Sections 120B, 153A, 500 read with Section 34 of IPC.

The complainant has alleged that an article written published by Mathrubhoomi weekly contained imputations, which were defamatory and misleading, lowering the reputation of RSS in the public.

“When the association was a determinate and an identifiable body, the defamatory words used against that association could be treated as defamation of the individuals who composed it. So, any member of that association can maintain a complaint under Section 500 of IPC,” the Kerala High Court had said.