Delhi High Court Summons BBC In Defamation Suit Over Modi Documentary

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in connection with a defamation suit filed by an NGO over its documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, titled “India: The Modi Question.”

In its plea, NGO Justice On Trial alleged that the BBC’s documentary cast a slur on the reputation of India, its judiciary, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Besides the BBC (UK), Justice Sachin Datta also issued notice to the BBC (India) seeking its response to the suit filed by the Gujarat-based NGO.

The high court said, “Issue notice to the respondents through all permissible modes” and listed it for further hearing on September 15. 

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the NGO, said the suit for defamation against the BBC is in relation to the documentary which has “defamed” India and the whole system including the judiciary.

He contended that the documentary also makes insinuations against the prime minister.

It was argued on behalf of the plaintiff that the documentary makes defamatory imputation and cast a slur on the reputation of the country.

In February, the Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a complete ban on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and BBC India from operating from Indian territory in the wake of airing a documentary on PM Modi.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundersh dismissed the petition by terming it as “absolutely misconceived”, the Live Law reported.

Hearing the plea, Justice Khanna said, “This is totally misconceived”. 

On January 21, the Modi-led Central government issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the controversial documentary.

Earlier, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi termed the documentary as ‘biased’ and ‘with a colonial mindset’. 

“The bias, the lack of objectivity, and frankly a continuing colonial mindset, is blatantly visible. If anything, this film or documentary is a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again. It makes us wonder about the purpose of this exercise and the agenda behind it and frankly we do not wish to dignify such efforts,” he said earlier during a media briefing. 

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