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Delhi High Court issues notice in appeal filed by Sushant Singh Rajput’s father against verdict dismissing plea for restraining films portraying life of the late actor

A division bench Led by Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, on Friday has issued a notice in the present case while refusing to pass any interim orders.

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice in a plea filed by the father of the Late Actor Sushant Singh Rajput challenging the order dismissing the petition filed seeking direction to restrain the release of films portraying the life of the late actor.

A division bench Led by Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, on Friday has issued a notice in the present case while refusing to pass any interim orders.

The petition has been filed by Krishna Kishore Kumar against a June 10 order of the court where it had refused an injunction barring film producers from releasing movies based on the life of the late actor.

On the previous date it was argued that although the respondents claim that the film has been released, the appellants could not find the said film anywhere. The court had adjourned the case and directed the parties to clear up this fact.

On Friday, Senior Counsel Harish Salve appearing for the appellant submitted that he still has not been able to find the movie on any website. This fact was later cleared by Chander Lall, who learned Senior Counsel appearing for the respondent when he shared the website on which the movie has been uploaded. The bench later asked him to play bits and pieces of the movie to affirm the fact that the movie has actually been released.

Justice Bhambhani later went on to the question of Defamation, copyright infringement/celebrity rights, and whether the portrayal of life events of SSR would vitiate trial proceedings. Salve submitted that the question of defamation is “Unripe” as of now as no one has seen the film. He submitted that the court shall consider this on the next date. 

On the question of a free and fair trial, Justice Bhambhani opined that the investigation will not be affected if there is a movie released on the same subject matter. 

The question of Celebrity Rights, Copyright Infringement, and the Right to Privacy later came to the forefront. On this, Justice Bhambhani inquired if the life story of an Individual is copyrightable. To this Salve said that the legal concept on which the life story of an Individual can be copyrighted is ‘Celebrity Rights’. Salve further submitted that biography and news come under the right to publicity under article 21. “Commercial exploitation of the celebrity should be left to the celebrity,” he further said. He also submitted that this is a judicially evolved philosophy.

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Salve further relied on the judgment of Justice K.S. Puttaswami vs Union of India to make his submissions regarding the Right to Privacy of the appellant. He further said that the ‘Right to Publicity is the right to come out of one’s ‘cocoon of privacy and control what is shown. He further submitted that the view that Biography and news cannot be subject to copyright is wrong and that the legal representative of a deceased celebrity should have his/her publicity rights. 

While issuing notice, Justice Bhambhani said that he will not be passing any interim orders since the film in question is already in the public domain. The matter will now be taken up on July 14.

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