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India's Supreme Court upholds country's defamation laws.

YENy DELHy (CyHAN)- India's Supreme Court on Friday upheld the country's defamation laws, dismissing a bunch of petitions filed by politicians cutting across party lines.

The Indian Penal Code makes defamation a criminal offence that entails a jail term of two years.

India's main opposition Congress party's second-in-command Rahul Gandhi, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's Subramanian Swamy and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had challenged the defamation laws.

They had all argued before the court that criminal defamation laws should be scrapped as the Indian Constitution's Article 19(2) imposes reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.

But the country's top court upheld the constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, which provide for criminal defamation.

The judges made it clear that there has to be a balance between protecting the reputation of an individual and freedom of speech.

During the hearing, the Indian government had also favoured the law, saying it must be retained to deter people from maligning the reputation of others.

All the petitioners have several defamation cases filed against them and they will now face trial in these lawsuits. (Cihan/Xinhua) Cihan CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:May 13, 2016
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