Defamation laws can be of two types.
1. Criminal defamation
Section 499 of the IPC,1860 defines ‘defamation’ as being committed:
i. Through: (i) words (spoken or intended to be read), signs, or visible representations;
ii. Which: are published or spoken imputation concerning any person;
iii. If the imputation is spoken or published with: (i) the intention of causing harm to the reputation of the person to whom it pertains, or (ii) knowledge or reason to believe that the imputation will harm the reputation of the person to whom it pertains will be harmed.
As a general rule, as far as defamation under tort law is concerned, the focus is on libel (i.e., written defamation) and not on slander (i.e., spoken defamation). In order to establish that a statement is libellous, it must be proved that it is
(iii) defamatory, and
In Civil Law, defamation mostly falls under the Law of Torts, which imposes punishment in the form of damages awarded to the claimant (person filing the claim). Under Criminal law, defamation is bailable, non-cognizable and compoundable offence. Therefore, the police cannot start investigation of defamation without a warrant from a magistrate (a FIR cannot be filed). The accused also has a right to seek bail. Later, the charges can be dropped if the victim and the accused enter into a compromise to that effect (even without the permission of the court).
Hope this answers your query.