NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the BBC on a defamation suit filed seeking damages for its two parts documentary “India: The Modi Question” for allegedly casting slur on India's reputation and its Prime Minister and judiciary.
A bench of Justice Sachin Datta sought a response from the public broadcaster of the United Kingdom on a suit filed by NGO 'Justice on Trial' and fixed the matter for consideration on September 25.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the plaintiff, contended that the conduct of the respondents is actionable and has made them liable to damages. He said the whole system, the Constitutional network, including India’s judicial system, has been defamed.
The two episodes are stated to have been published in January 2023.
The plaintiff contended that the said documentary/publication contained content which casts a slur on the reputation of the country and also made false and defamatory imputations and insinuations against the Prime Minister of India, the Indian Judiciary and the Indian criminal justice system.
On January 21, 2023, the Centre had invoked rule 16 of IT rule 2021 and prohibited citizen of India from watching BBC documentary related to Gujarat riots of 2002.
The plaintiff moved the HC in a “suit for damages”, under Order 33 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) “seeking permission to file as an indigent person”.
The order records that 'Justice For All' is a society registered under the Societies Registration Act and is also registered as a public trust under the provisions of the Bombay Public Trust.
The government has contended the documentary was a "propaganda piece designed to push a discredited narrative" and a reflection of the “colonial mindset”.