Can an ironic statement also be considered to be defamatory?

A statement can be expressed ironically but can still amount to defamation. For example, you publish a statement in the newspaper saying that Hari, the local politician, is an honest man and has never taken a bribe of Rs. 5,00,000 for construction of a bridge. Your statement might be considered defamatory (if it isn’t actually true) because it is a very specific fact about Hari taking bribes and readers are likely to interpret your statement to say Hari actually took the bribe.

Can I be punished under defamation law if I said something indirectly but in good faith?

There is an exception under this provision for making an accusation before a lawful authority in good faith. However, in this situation, you need to go to the right authority. For example, the municipality is not the legal authority in charge of investigating tax evasion – therefore this exception will not apply and you can be punished for defaming your neighbour.

Is saying the truth a crime of defamation?

No. Saying or publishing the truth which for public good is an exception to defamation law. The Court will look into the facts to decide if the statements you made were actually for the public good.