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Monday, September 20, 2021

Gangubai Kathiawadi: HC grants interim stay of defamation proceedings against Alia Bhatt, producers

The court also refused to stay the release of the film in a plea by the alleged adopted son of Gangubai Kathiawadi, who claimed that the film and the book it is based on are defamatory to his mother’s reputation

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: August 19, 2021 5:49:17 pm
Gangubai KathiawadiA poster of Alia Bhatt's Gangubai Kathiawadi. (Photo: Twitter/aliaa08)

The Bombay High Court recently granted an interim stay on criminal defamation proceedings against producers of Gangubai Kathiawadi and actor Alia Bhatt.

In another order, the court refused to stay the release of the film in a plea by the alleged adopted son of Gangubai Kathiawadi, who claimed that the film and the book it is based on are defamatory to his mother’s reputation.

A single-judge bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere on August 10 passed an order on criminal application by Bhansali Productions Pvt Ltd, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Alia Bhatt, challenging summons issued by the Magistrate Court, Mazgaon on March 15, in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Babuji Rawji Shah against them.

Senior advocate Aabad Ponda for the Bhansali Productions submitted that the book ‘The Mafia Queens of Mumbai’, was published in 2011 and the movie is based on the book and applicants had no knowledge of the existence of Shah.

Ponda also referred to the order of the Civil Court dismissing the suit by Shah, which sought permanent injunction against the authors of the book to restrain them from publishing, selling or creating any third party rights in the novel.

Ponda said that the fact was suppressed by Shah in a criminal complaint filed by him against the producers and therefore, summons issued by the magistrate court be set aside.

Justice Dere issued notice to the respondent Shah and said that in the meantime, till the next date of hearing, the proceedings before the trial court be stayed. The High Court will hear the plea next on September 7.

Meanwhile, a single-judge bench of Justice Nitin W Sambre passed an order on an application filed by Shah challenging the dismissal of the Civil Court order in his suit, which refused interim injunction against Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges, authors of the book ‘The Mafia Queens of Mumbai’. The Court had refused to restrain the authors from publishing, selling or creating third party rights on their novel.

The suit had also sought an injunction against Bhansali Productions from producing, directing or airing the promo of any film based on the said novel. The Civil Court had allowed an application by producers for dismissal of the suit, which prompted Shah to approach the High Court against the same.

Shah, through advocate Narendra Dubey, sought an interim order from the High Court seeking temporary injunction of restraining the makers of the movie from releasing the film.

However, advocate Mayur Khandeparkar, appearing for the producers, submitted that as the suit at the behest of the legal heir of the person alleged to be defamed is not maintainable, the same was rightly rejected by the Civil Court. He added Shah is not likely to suffer irreparable loss in view of absence of his legal rights and therefore the prayer for injunction is liable to be rejected.

Disposing the plea, Justice Sambre held, “In a case of claim for defamation, action can be brought by a person in court of law provided he claimed to be defamed. Merely because the appellant is claiming to be son of such person cannot be prima facie inferred to have the legal right to show indulgence. Temporary injunction as prayed cannot be granted and as such prayers stand rejected.”


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