The Supreme Court on Sept. 9 turned down a damages suit filed by the wife of a mental hospital chief who claims her husband killed himself in 1985 because of a slanderous remark made against him by a Diet member.

It was the first Supreme Court ruling on whether a lawmaker can be held responsible for damages over comments made during a Diet session. Article 51 of the Constitution states, “Members of both Houses (of the Diet) shall not be held liable outside the House for speeches, debates or votes cast inside the House.”

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