On May 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of India upheld in Subramaniam Swamy v. Union of India a set of criminal defamation laws to be constitutionally valid. Three politicians had challenged the laws, arguing that they endangered universal and constitutional free speech and free expression rights. In its judgment, the Court noted that reputation is a right protected under the Indian Constitution and that “the objective of the law of defamation, civil or criminal, is to protect the reputation and dignity of an individual against scurrilous and vicious attacks.” The Court determined that a balance must be struck between freedom of expression and the right to reputation, finding that the criminal penalties imposed by the defamation laws were appropriate in this regard. The Court also noted that freedom of speech and expression are universally recognized rights that are enumerated in several international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. However, the Court found that such instruments also allow for the right to reputation, which serves as an exception to the right to freedom of speech. While other states have decriminalized criminal defamation, the Court held that this did not mean such laws were universally unreasonable and that criminal defamation is a viable exception to freedom of speech.