Lobbyist Radia seeks stay on release of film based on her life

Last Updated 24 March 2011, 11:34 IST

Kush Bhargava, a Lucknow-based Congress leader, is the producer of the movie starring award winning actor Ashutosh Rana. It is scheduled to be released tomorrow.
"Issue notice to the respondent (Kush Bhargava) asking him to file a copy of the script of the film or a CD by the next date of hearing," Justice V K Jain said.

Radia, Director of Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Private Ltd who has been in news after the leakage of her tapped conversations with corporate heads, journalists and political leaders, has filed the petition seeking "permanent injunction" against the release of the film.

"The plaintiff (Radia) has not assigned anyone the right to make a film based on her life or any film showing the the life of the petitioner, however, minuscule and the production of the film in such a brazen manner and public viewing of such film will tarnish or damage her image and reputation beyond repair which cannot be compensated," Anip Sachthey, lawyer for the lobbyist, said.

The lawyer also cited a news report which said "the Congress leader Bhargava will release a film on the infamous telecom scam on March 25. Divya Dutta, the protagonist, will have shades of both Shivani Bhatnagar (the Indian Express journalist killed in 1999) and Niira Radia."

The other actors of the film included Yashpal Sharma and Kittu Gidwani. Before issuing the notice, Justice Jain, during the hearing, said "after all, it is the Censor Board which has given it a certificate after viewing it."

After being argued that Radia was not a public figure and her right to privacy, guaranteed under the Constitution, be respected as it superseded the right to freedom of speech and expression. "If you speak to public figures and discuss matters, which relate to the affairs of the state, then you cannot claim that such things, if communicated, violate your right to privacy," Justice Jain said.

Earlier, the courts have watched a movie based on slain bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi to ensure the rights of such persons are not infringed, Radia's counsel reasoned. "In any case, neither the script nor the VCD of the film is before the court and without looking on them, how can an opinion be formed," the court said, adding that the notice be served on the producer who is directed to bring either the VCD or the copy of the script.

The alleged exhibition of Radia as "mother of all scandals" would not only "mutilate her soul, denigrate the person but reduce the plaintiff to a situation of emotional abandonment", the petition said.

Radia, in her petition, said "by permitting publication of the the transcripts and broadcast in the media can cause gross harm and damage which the state is bound to protect
its citizens' right to live with dignity."

"In the case of ordinary citizen who is not a public figure is entitled to the right to privacy which is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution and that the said right shall take precedence over all other rights of the public," the petition said. The movie is a scandalous attack on Radia depicting in a very derogatory and damaging light would denigrate her status as a entrepreneur and chairman of the reputed company, it said.

(Published 24 March 2011, 11:34 IST)

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