Purshottam Lal Sayal vs Prem Shanker on 12 April, 1965

This is a defendant's second appeal from the decree of the Second Additional Civil Judge of Meerut awarding the plaintiff respondent a sum of Rs. 1,000 as damages for slander. It raises several questions of law, including constitutional law, of general importance. The factual findings of the lower appellate Court were not challenged in this appeal and its decree was assailed on legal and constitutional grounds; but it is necessary to relate very briefly the facts which have led to this suit. An inquiry was instituted against one R. L. Bansal, Agent of the Allahabad Bank Ghaziabad, on the application of an employee of the Bank, Tara Chand. The defendant-appellant Purushottam Lal Siyal (hereinafter called Siyal), represented Tara Chand in that inquiry which was conducted by the Regional Officer of the Bank who was sent from Delhi. R. L. Bansal, as agent of the Ghaziabad branch, had made a report against Tara Chand complaining that his behaviour to the customers was unsatisfactory and this led to a proposal for the compulsory retirement of Tara Chand. The latter however sent a representation accusing R. L. Bansal of personal prejudice against him, and the Bank ordered an inquiry. It was held in the premises of the Bank and both parties were permitted to lead evidence and produce witnesses. The appellant, who represented Tara Chand, was at the time holding a responsible position in the All-India Bank Employees Association. One of the witnesses of R. L. Bansal was Prem Shanker a local business man of some standing and repute. He is the plaintiff in the suit, and respondent in this appeal. He gave evidence in Favour of R. L. Bansal and against Tara Chand. While cross-examining him, the appellant Siyal made statements which were regarded by the latter as defamatory and have resulted in this suit.

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