SC junks plea against the release of Alia Bhatt-starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi

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The Supreme Court on Thursday junked a plea seeking an injunction against Bhansali Productions from releasing Alia Bhatt-starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi. The plea was filed by Gangubai’s adopted son.

A bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and J.K. Maheshwari after a detailed hearing in the matter dismissed the plea filed by Gangubai’s adopted son, Babuji Rawji Shah, against the Bombay High Court order.

“This special leave petition is dismissed,” said Justice Banerjee.

On Wednesday, the bench queried, “Is changing the title possible?” However, the petitioner’s counsel insisted on an interim stay on the release of the movie. The respondent’s counsel argued that name change, days before the release, would not be possible.

During the hearing on Thursday, the filmmaker’s counsel pressed that the movie has been promoted for more than seven months, and it is all over social media. A battery of senior advocates argued that the movie is not derogatory at all, rather it glorifies Gangubai, and pointed out that there is also a statue in her name.

Gangubai’s adopted son in the appeal, filed through lawyers Arun Kumar Sinha and Rakesh Singh, claimed that the novel and the movie tarnished his image, his deceased mother and other family members and statements in the plaint satisfy the ingredients, which defines defamation.

The plea said: “Because the high court while keeping the first appeal pending, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, ought to have granted temporary injunction restraining the respondents from printing, promoting, selling, assigning, etc., the novel namely, “The Mafia Queens of Mumbai” or the film namely Gangubai Kathiawadi, which are admittedly defamatory in nature”.

The top court was hearing an appeal against the high court order, which continued the stay on the summons issued by a Mumbai court in a criminal defamation complaint against actress Alia Bhatt, the producers of Gangubai Kathiawadi, and authors S.Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges, who wrote the book.

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