Sushant Singh Rajput.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to stay the release of the movie, ‘Nyay: The Justice‘, which is purportedly based on the life of late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
The movie is scheduled to be released on Friday.
Justice Sanjeev Narula dismissed an application by Rajput’s father Krishna Kishore Singh, seeking to restrain anyone from using his son’s name or likeness in movies.
The court, however, directed the producers to maintain accounts of the film and listed the suit for completion of pleading before the joint registrar.
The detailed order is awaited.
According to Singh’s plea, 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.
Rajput’s father, represented through senior advocate Vikas Singh and lawyer Varun Singh, has contended that the filmmakers are taking advantage of the situation for commercial gains and therefore, the right to freedom of speech and expression would not apply to them.
“Plaintiff (Singh) has apprehension that various plays, movies, web-series, books, interviews or other material may be published which would harm the reputation of the son of the plaintiff and his family,” claimed the suit, seeking damages of over Rs 2 crore from the filmmakers for “loss of reputation, mental trauma and harassment” to Rajput’s family.
Opposing the plea, senior advocate Chander Lall, appearing for the director of Nyay, has said the movie’s release has been widely publicised and therefore, he would not be able to give any assurance with regard to holding it back.
He said Rajput’s caricature, name or likeness has not been used in the film.
Lall as well as the counsel for the producers have told the court that restraining anyone from making any movie on what happened to Rajput would be an infringement of the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution.
They stated that Rajput being a celebrity, people need to know what happened to him and cited examples of movies, both Indian and foreign, made on various individuals and companies without their express permission and said that such activity was permissible.
They also said that since Rajput has passed away the rights of fair trial and privacy cannot be inherited by his father.
Counsel for Rajput’s father has opposed the contentions of the film’s producers and director saying since the father filed the complaint, which was the basis of the FIR and trial, and also the present suit, he had a right to fair trial and privacy.
The director of the film ‘Shashank’ was represented through advocate A P Singh.
The suit has also 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”.
It has also contended that Rajput being a well-known celebrity, “any misuse of his name/ image/ caricature/ style of delivering dialogues also amounts to infringement of the personality right vested with the plaintiff besides amounting to acts of passing off”.
The contentions of Rajput’s father have been opposed by the filmmakers of the upcoming and proposed movies.