The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to suspend the release of the film “Nyay: The Justice”, allegedly based on the life of the late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, which is scheduled for release on Friday.
A bench of Judge Sanjeev Narula has rejected a claim filed by Sushant’s father, Krishna Kishore Singh, against the film and other companies that use his son’s name or image in the form of a biopic or a story.
The court noted that Rajput’s father claimed that the deceased celebrity had posthumous publicity rights. In this context, he stated that there is no doubt that a limited category of celebrity rights is protected as intellectual property rights under applicable laws and could survive the death of the celebrity, but that the privacy was not one of them.
It ruled that an individual’s right to privacy cannot be inherited after his death by his legal heirs and that a person’s reputation or privacy ends after his life.
The court observed that the events which are the subject of the film are in the public sphere, and it finds no justification for restricting the publication of works claiming to be fictitious, which is inspired by such events.
“Since the films of the accused are neither presented as a biopic, nor as a factual narration of what happened in the life of the RSS and are described as being completely fictional and inspired by certain events that took place in the past and have been widely argued available in the public domain, the court finds no reason to grant an injunction, “the court said.
The court noted that the lawsuit was filed shortly after the film’s release, after filmmakers put a lot of time, money and effort into production and promotion. “For this reason, the balance of convenience is entirely in favor of the accused,” he said.
The court observed that the fictitious rendition based on certain events fell within the scope of freedom of expression and artistic speech. Until the celebrity’s name is used and a warning is issued with the film, filmmakers cannot be banned from making a film based on such events, he said.