Delhi HC refuses to restrain "Nyay: The Justice", scraps late actor Sushant Singh Rajput's father's plea

As per the present suit, the movie producers did not take permission from any of his legal representatives, including the plaintiff who is the sole surviving legal heir of Sushant Singh Rajput.
Late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. (Photo | PTI)
Late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has refused to restrain the online streaming of ''Nyay: The Justice'',  a film based on the life of late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput (SSR) while hearing a plea moved by the deceased actor's father citing the movie included defamatory statements and news articles, and violated the personality rights associated with the late Bollywood star.

Rejecting Sushant's father Krishna Kishore Singh's lawsuit, Justice C Harishankar said, "... I am of the opinion that no case can be said to exist, to grant the prayers made by the plaintiff (SSR's father).."

As per the present suit, the movie producers did not take permission from any of his legal representatives, including the plaintiff who is the sole surviving legal heir of Sushant Singh Rajput.

Kishore Singh was seeking a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants and others from using SSR's name, caricature or lifestyle in any projects or films without the prior permission of the plaintiff, alleging that any such effort would infringe the personality rights of the late actor, and also cause deception in the minds of the public, which would amount to passing off.  

The high court said no case for interim relief was made in the present matter as the plaintiff sought to protect the ''inheritable'' rights of privacy, publicity and personality which vested in SSR who was no longer alive.

''The rights ventilated in the plaint – i.e., the right to privacy, the right to publicity and the personality rights which vested in SSR, are not heritable. They died with the death of SSR. The said rights, therefore, did not survive for espousal by the plaintiff....,'' the 68-page order stated.

It further said Singh's contention that permitting telecasting of the film would prejudice the right to fair, free and dispassionate trial of the circumstances surrounding SSR‘s death, has merely to be stated to merit rejection.

"Our legal system is, fortunately, not so fickle as to justify any apprehension that the dispensers of justice, who constitute its ethos and backbone, would decide on the basis of the facts depicted in the impugned movie. I need not say more," Justice Harishankar said while dismissing the plea.

Rajput, 34, was found dead in his Mumbai apartment in suburban Bandra on June 14, 2020. "The circumstances in which SSR breathed his last remain murky, and the dust is still to settle," read the facts part of the order.

While the defendant film-makers claimed the movie was a generalised version of struggling actors in the Hindi film industry with some inspiration taken from material in public domain, the court maintained the film was a ''retelling'' of SSR's life and times, leading up to his tragic death.

''To put it plainly, the coincidences are one too many... the impugned film is a faithful retelling of SSR‘s life story, and the circumstances surrounding his untimely demise are, therefore, according to me, plain,'' the court said.

''The disclaimer, inserted in the impugned movie cannot, therefore, in my considered opinion, detract from the reality that the movie is, in fact, a celluloid retelling of the life and death of SSR,'' it added.

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