Delhi HC issues notice on application by journalists seeking to dismiss suit filed by filmmakers

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New Delhi [India], January 6 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to plaintiffs including The Film and Television Producers Guild of India on an application filed by journalists seeking to dismiss the suit filed by filmmakers.

Bennett Coleman & Co and Times Now journalists Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar have filed an intervening application stating that suit filed by the Guild is not maintainable and urged the court to reject it.

A single-judge bench of Justice JR Midha asked the plaintiff Bollywood filmmakers to file reply on the application and listed the matter for March 23 for further hearing.

The application said that the suit filed by filmmakers is an abuse of process because the filmmakers intend to interfere with the fundamental rights of the news organisations protected by Article 19(1)(a).

According to application, Specific Relief Act, 1963 which postulates that no injection may be issued at the instance of a plaintiff that has no personal right. The Film and Television Producers Guild are merely acting as a front for certain other individuals who have chosen not to approach this court, the application added.

The application said that Delhi High Court has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed against them.

"No cause of action has arisen in favour of the plaintiff(s) (The Film and Television Producers Guild of India) and against the Defendant(s) (journalists) considering that the plaint allegedly complains of defamation of un-identifiable group of persons and is such, defamation is not made out," the application said.

It further added that no defamatory content has been published by the defendant(s) news channels herein against the plaintifs filmmakers or any statement made by the defendant(s) against the plaintiff(s) which amounts to defamation as alleged or otherwise or at all.

"Hence, the present suit is not maintainable and as such, the present suit is liable to be dismissed," the application said.

Various production houses including Guild had filed a joint suit seeking directions to refrain various news channels from making "irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory" remarks against Bollywood as a whole and "conducting media trials" of Bollywood personalities.

Earlier the petitioners including The Film and Television Producers Guild of India, had submitted that entire defamatory campaign started against Bollywood with reportage on Sushant Singh Rajput's suicide and thereafter suicide became murder and Bollywood became associated with criminals and drug peddlers. (ANI)