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Expertise in Legal Notice for Defamation


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Overview of Legal Notice for Defamation

Whenever a person is accused of untrue accusations or statements with malicious intent to damage a person’s reputation and image is called defamation. A person can commit defamation in two types, libel (written words) and slander (spoken). An aggrieved person has the right to send a legal notice for defamation under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860. Legal notice for defamation can be sent by a party under criminal or civil law.

A legal notice is served to the opposite party as a means of formal communication warning the opposite party of taking legal action if the party does not follow the demands or payment of damages as mentioned in the legal notice for defamation.

Need of legal notice for defamation

Whenever a wrong has been committed to a person and he/she wishes to approach the justice system to seek remedy and solution, the first thing he/she is required to send a legal notice to the person who has defamed the other. A legal notice is a warning to the opposite party for initiation of legal proceedings (civil or criminal) against a person who has defamed the aggrieved party. It is sent to demand compensation or damages for the loss of the reputation of a person.

Laws relating to defamation in India

The provisions of legal notice for defamation are mentioned in the following laws:

  • Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC)
  • Indian Penal Code, 1862

The image and goodwill of an individual is a very important part of life. The right to reputation has been provided to people under Article 21 of The Indian Constitution as a fundamental and natural right.

Even though the right to freedom and expression has been provided to people as a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, the same article contains reasonable restrictions under which a person is not allowed to use such a right. Reasonable restrictions have been put in to protect the interest of:

  • the security of the state,
  • foreign relation,
  • public order,
  • maintenance of decency,
  • morality,
  • contempt of court, and
  • defamation

Defamation is civil and criminal wrong in India. Under civil law, defamation is considered a tort. A person has the right to file a civil suit for defamation and claim compensation. A person has the right to file a civil suit before the:

  • the Court of Civil Judge Junior Division, or
  • the Court of Civil Judge Senior Division, or
  • the Subordinate Judge.

In a civil suit, the plaintiff can seek monetary compensation for all the losses suffered due to the defamation.

If a person does not wish to file a civil suit, he/she can approach a criminal court to file a case for defamation. Defamation has been defined under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code and the punishment for a person who commits such an offence has been mentioned under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code. A criminal process begins against the accused before the Judicial Magistrate of First Class.

Essentials of legal notice for defamation

Legal notice for Defamation must cover certain essential details which are as follows:

  • It is necessary that the notice must be on the letterhead of the organization where the advocate works or an individual advocate in a proper manner.
  • The notice should also contain personal contact information such as the address and contact number of the advocate.
  • The notice should also contain the date on which the notice is issued along with the personal details such as the name, address and contact details of the opposite party.
  • It is also important to mention the personal details such as the name and address of the party who has been aggrieved by the act of the opposite party.
  • There should be a detailed paragraph containing information about the cause of action that lead to serving legal notice due to damage to the image of the aggrieved person.
  • It is pertinent to mention the relief which has been claimed by the aggrieved person.
  • The draftsman should inform how one’s right has been violated and reputation has been harmed due to the act or omission of the opposite party and what can be done to rectify the mistake.
  • The opposite party must be given a reasonable time to perform the necessary task and reply to the notice.
  • It should be duly signed by the advocate and the person who has been aggrieved by the act of the opposite party.

Important elements of legal notice for defamation

There are certain acts of the opposite party which are considered to be defaming. Therefore, before drafting a legal notice for defamation, it is essential to check the presence of the below-mentioned elements in the act of the opposite party. These are as follows:

  • The statement which constitutes defamation must not be true. If such a statement(s) made on the aggrieved person is a true fact, then such an act does not constitute defamation.
  • There are certain conversations between parties which are considered as privileged. A conversation between a client and the advocate is considered to be privileged. Such statements are protected and cannot be used as proof for defamation purposes. Thus, no person can bring in a defamation suit for privileged communication.
  • Whenever a person gives his/her opinion on someone or something be it true or false, cannot be treated as a defamatory statement.
  • A person is said to have committed the wrong by defaming another person only if the defamatory statement is in writing and read by someone or has been heard by a person other than the one who made such remarks. If a person abuses another in a place where there is no third person present, then such remarks are not considered defamatory.
  • The basic condition of filing a defamation suit is that the statements must have caused damage and loss to the reputation of a person. If the person already has a bad character and nature, then the remarks made cannot be considered defamatory.
  • The statements passed by a person must be believable to a common man. If a prudent man is unable to believe the statements to be true, such statements cannot be called defamatory.

Sample format for Legal Notice for Defamation



(Address of the opposite party)


That I have been instructed by my client Mr. MN S/o Mr. XY residing at T-12, MN Bagh, Mumbai to send you legal notice for defamation on the following legal grounds

  1. That my client is a renowned businessman and owner of a company with the brand name XY Cereals. My client is a reputed and highly respected figure in India.
  2. That my client is involved in several social services continuously for the last several decades and has a perfect image in the eyes of the general public.
  3. That my client’s friends and close relatives informed him that they were taken aback to see the news in the newspaper and other electronic media widely distributed that you, the addressee knowingly and irresponsibly made defamatory and false allegations against my client with malicious intent to harm the reputation of my client and his business with the knowledge that the statements made are false and to lower his reputation in the eyes of the general public.
  4. That the concocted allegations made by the addressee are defamatory, false, concocted and have wicked the image of my client.
  5. The excerpts of the __________ television news channel DAILY NEWS dated (date) at 7:40 pm are as follows:-

"____________________ _________________ ________________"

You the addressee have made untrue allegations against my client on (date). The excerpts from the local newspaper are as follows:-

"____________________ _________________ ________________"

  1. That the aforesaid false, defamatory, harmful statements have been widely published and displayed and read by the general public which has led to the lowering of the image of my client in the eyes of the general public.

Therefore, my client serves you the legal notice to issue an apology before the general public and withdraw the defamatory statements which have been made against my client within the time period of 5 days.

Failing to do the required, my client will be forced to file a criminal complaint and take necessary legal actions against you at your cost, risk and consequences.

A copy of the notice has been retained in my office for any further action.

(Name of the Advocate)


(Signature of the Advocate)

Documents required for legal notice for defamation

An aggrieved person must have the following mentioned Documents while drafting a legal notice for defamation. These are as follows:

  • The word/image as proof which has caused damage to the reputation of a person which has led to defamation,
  • Identity proof of sender,
  • Proof of damage to the image of the aggrieved, etc.

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Procedure for Legal Notice for Defamation

The law does not specify a format or procedure to draft a legal notice for defamation. Therefore, it must be well-structured containing all the essential details. It must be duly signed by the sender and the advocate. Once the advocate drafts the notice, he/she should send the same to the sender for reviewing before sending it to the opposite party. If the opposite party does not fulfill the demands asked by the sender through notice or does not reply to the notice, the aggrieved person can file a defamation suit against the opposite party before a court having competent jurisdiction.

The help of lawyer in drafting a legal notice for defamation

As law involves a lot of complexities and regulations to be followed while entering into litigation, it is suggested to people contact and hire a lawyer who is an expert in matters related to defamation.

Such an expert will help in drafting a well-structured legal notice containing all the important details received from the client to enhance the credibility of the matter. An experienced lawyer is well aware of all the legal paper works and paper-work required to be submitted during a matter that is pending before the court. Thus, hiring an expert and experienced lawyer is very important to ensure that all the paperwork and legal notice have been drafted considering the legal points and have been sent to the correct person.

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Amit Tripathi

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