Supreme Court Gives Green Light To The Release Of "Gangubai Kathiawadi", Dismisses Plea Seeking Injunction
A Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice J. K. Maheshwari today dismissed a special leave petition which was filed seeking an injunction restraining the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt, citing that the movie allegedly defames the image of Gangubai.
The plea was filed before the Apex Court by a person claiming to be the adopted son of Gangubai, challenging the order of the High Court of Bombay which had refused to stay the release of the film.
Senior Advocate C. Aryama Sundaram who appeared for Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director of the movie argued before the Court that it has not been established by the petitioner that he is the adopted son of Gangubai and that there is no prima facie evidence of his adoption.
It was submitted before the Court that "On defamation, the person has to prove that he as a son is being affected due to the depiction of the lady which is totally missing. Further what is missing is any prima facie evidence that he is adopted son."
In furtherance of this, he also stated that the movie is based on the book named "Mafia Queens of Bombay" which was published in 2011 and which glorified the woman as to how she rose from a red light centre and became a social worker and the book has not been challenged till now.
It was also submitted before the Court that the film has got certification from Central Board of Film Certification and has been extensively advertised and in such a situation party cannot seek injunction but can only move the Court for damages.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Bhansali Productions Pvt. Ltd. added to the arguments advanced by Senior Advocate Sundaram and stated that the film is to be released tomorrow in thousand of theaters across the country and third party rights have also been created for the purpose of broadcast and distribution.
Moreover, it was pointed out by Senior Advocate Rohatgi that as per Section 306 of the Indian Succession Act the act for defamation does not survive to the legal heirs of the person after the death of that person.
The counsel appearing for petitioner pointed out that the book and trailer have a defamatory line which implies that Gangubai had an affair and was thus forced into prostitution, to which the bench pointed out that the argument made by the counsel is very vague.
While dismissing the petition Justice Banerjee said that "You will have to say how and in what manner were you adopted. You have not mentioned anything anywhere." Furthermore, Justice Indira Banerjee pointed out that "Mr. Counsel if you are asking for interim injunction you have to make out a prima facie case" adding that "You have to make out a prima facie case on locus and on merits."
The petitioner in the petition had sought an interim order to be passed by the Court to restrain the makers from promoting, selling, making, etc of the book named "Mafia Queens of Bombay" and the movie named "Gangubai Kathiawadi" during the pendency of the case, since as per the petitioner, the contents of the book and the movie which is based on the book are defamatory.