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Slander

Reviewed by Sweta | Updated on Sep 30, 2020

Catalogue

Introduction

Slander refers to making false oral statements about another person, harming their reputation. Slander causing defamation to another person is punishable as a civil or criminal offence under the laws of different countries. The act of defamation may be against an individual, organisation, or company. The term 'slander' is used in legal terminology for verbal statements causing defamation.

Understanding Slander

Slander involves making statements which are untrue or are known to be false to the person making it. The person making the statements knows or has reasons to believe that such statements will cause harm to the reputation of another person. The statements may be made in a direct or indirect manner.

The statements may be expressed as an alternative or expressed ironically. For example, A says "X is an honest man; he never stole Z's watch" with the intention of causing a belief that X did steal Z's watch. This statement would be defamation. The aggrieved person or defamed person can file a lawsuit against the person making such statements.

The lawsuit can seek damages from the alleged offender for loss of reputation or goodwill due to the statements made by such person. The statements made in slander must be a statement of fact and not an expression of an opinion.

Slander is different from a libel which involves written acts of communication, causing defamation to another person. Slander is temporary as compared to libel due to its short-lived nature in comparison to the written form or mass communication form of libel.

In a case where an allegation of defamation is made by a public figure, then one has to prove that the 'slander' was made with malicious intentions.

Conclusion

In India, the civil remedy for slander is available under the law of torts. The person who suffers an injury due to the defamatory statements of another person can sue such person for damages.

The criminal remedy is available under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The person who defames another can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, with fine, or both.

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