‘Referring to a man as impotent is defamatory’
‘IMPOTENT’ REFLECTS ADVERSELY UPON THE MANHOOD OF A PERSON, SAID THE HIGH COURT
MUMBAI : Referring to a man as “impotent” reflects badly on his manhood and prima facie amounts to defamation, the Bombay high court (HC) said. The HC also refused to quash criminal proceedings initiated against an Andhra Pradesh resident, filed by her estranged husband for terming him ‘impotent’ in her divorce petition.
Justice SB Shukre said the use of the word ‘impotent’ would be sufficient to constitute defamation, punishable under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code.
The woman had filed a divorce petition before a local court in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh. After an interim custody order of the family court, she approached the HC, stating her estranged husband is impotent and their child was born through medical ovulation period technique. Her husband took offence to the remarks made in the petition and approached the local magistrate court at Nagpur, seeking prosecution of his wife and her relatives under defamation and criminal intimidation. The woman then approached the HC last year.
She argued before HC that her intention was not to defame her husband and the term cannot be read in isolation. She claimed she had used the term due to her husband’s medical condition, because of which it was impossible for her to conceive.
Justice Shukre, however, said reading the woman’s statement the way it is, one gets an impression it is per se defamatory in character.