The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court gave a landmark ruling that said calling a man ‘impotent’ can be considered defamation, has adverse effects on the person’s manhood, attracts offensive and unfavorable opinions and comments from others.

“Prima facie, the word ‘impotent’, when understood in a plain and grammatical sense, reflects adversely upon person’s manhood and has a tendency to invite derisive opinions about him from others. Therefore, its usage and publication as contemplated under Section 499 (damage to reputation) would be sufficient to constitute the offense of defamation under Section 500 (punishment for defamation) of IPC,” the court said, reports The Times of India.


The ruling is drawn back to a woman in Maharashtra who dredged up his husband’s impotency to get the custody of their daughter at their divorce proceedings which began in 2016.

At these accusations, the man lodged a case against his wife and her parents under sections 500 (defamation) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code last year which the wife later challenged in the Bombay High Court.

Justice Shukre observed that the woman had also issued multiple threats to tarnish her husband’s reputation if he did not do what he was told.

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The judge said, “Reading her allegations without adding/subtracting anything from it, one gets an impression that it’s defamatory in character and has been, prima facie, calculated to cause harm or injury to husband’s reputation. It also gives an impression that apparently, it has been made with consciousness about the repercussion that such a statement would have on his life.”

The court rejected the woman’s plea and this landmark ruling is also going to help husbands fight back when they are defamed of impotency.

The court also made it clear that the term ‘impotency’ whether said in a direct way or in a contextual setting, is equally capable of causing harm to the person’s manhood and his reputation.

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