Delhi HC refuses to stop further circulation of film purportedly based on Sushant Rajput’s life

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to pass any direction to restrain further circulation of film ‘Nyay: The Justice’ which is purportedly based on the life of late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput and has been released on a website.

“We will have it on 14th (July). I am not inclined at this stage,” said a Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh while hearing the application of Rajput’s father Krishna Kishore Singh, in the appeal against single judge order refusing to stay the release of the film.

Justice Shakdher said the movie had already been released and since the Bench was available only for today, he was not inclined to hear it or issue notice.

“Matter is listed in usual course on July 14. Let the application be listed on same date. I don’t want to second guess what the judge is going to do. I’m not inclined to issue notice at this stage. In an appeal, you know what the rigour is,” the court said.

Senior Advocate Jayant Mehta, appearing for Singh, argued he was not seeking that the film be un-released, but that it should not be re-published or further circulated on any other platform now.

Mr. Mehta told the court that while the movie had been released on ‘lapalap’ website, the duration of the movie was different from what was indicated earlier.

“Let it not go to any other platform from now and July 14… Let there not be another lapalap..,” Mr. Mehta said.

In the application, Singh said that the release of the film on ‘lapalap’ was “nothing but a sham” as it was “incomplete, completely smudged, blur and hazy throughout”.

Since the movie is incomplete, it has not been released, the application said.

Mr. Mehta submitted that as per a media interview, even the actor of the movie was not aware as to when the movie would be released.

He also informed the court that the website ‘lapalap’ was owned by an entity in which one of the filmmakers, Sarla A Saraogi, was a director.

Senior advocate Chander Lall, appearing for the film director, opposed the passing of any direction to restrain further publication and said that Singh was free to “come back with defamation suit if film defames”.

Mr. Lall stated that the film carries a disclaimer that it is not based on anyone living or dead.

“Who is the plaintiff to control my film?”, Mr. Lall questioned as he argued that Singh should not be allowed to “repeatedly make requests” against the release of the film.

Last month, a vacation Bench of the high court had issued notice on Singh’s appeal against single judge order refusing to stay the release of several such movies, including ‘Nyay: The Justice’.

The single judge had earlier said it found merit in the submissions of producers and directors that if information of events which have occurred is already in the public domain, one cannot plead any violation of right to privacy on a movie inspired from such events.

Some of the upcoming or proposed movie projects based on his son’’s life are – ‘Nyay: The Justice’, ‘Suicide or Murder: A star was lost’, ‘Shashank’ and an unnamed crowd-funded film.

The court had directed the filmmakers to render complete accounts of the revenue earned from the films, if any case of damages is made out in future and listed the suit for completion of pleading before the joint registrar.

The suit claimed that in case a “movie, web-series, book or any other content of similar nature is allowed to be published or broadcasted, it would affect the right of the victim and deceased for a free and fair trial as it may cause prejudice to them”.

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