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Delhi court issues summons to BBC, Wikimedia, Internet Archive on plea over documentary on PM Narendra Modi

A local court in Delhi has issued summons to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Wikimedia Foundation and the Internet Archive over a petition seeking permanent restraint order against the organisations from broadcasting the BBC documentary titled ‘India – The Modi Question’. 

Additional District Judge Ruchika Singla of Rohini court recently passed the order on a defamation suit filed by BJP leader Binay Kumar Singh, seeking an unconditional apology and damages worth Rs 10 lakh from the organisations.

The petition contended that the allegations levelled by the documentary hurt him because he was associated with RSS, VHP and BJP

The ASJ further directed the defendants to file a written statement within 30 days from the date of service of summons and listed the matter for further hearing on May 11. 

Filed by Mukesh Sharma, the petition alleged that the documentary had ‘generated’ an atmosphere of ‘terror and fear’ among the members of various groups. It also possessed the ‘potential to trigger violence and jeopardise’ public order across the nation.

The court also issued summons to the defendants in the matter.

Petitioner Singh sought direction to restrain the defendants, including their agents, from publishing the two-volume documentary series ‘India: The Modi Question’ or any other defamatory material pertaining to either the plaintiff, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on the platforms of Wikimedia and Internet Archive or any other online or offline platforms.

BBC aired the two-volume documentary series “India: The Modi Question” in January, 2023, which alleged that under the primeministership of Narendra Modi, there has been an alarming rise in hate crimes and extreme politics in the country, particularly targeting the Muslim community.

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