Delhi HC: Retweeting defamatory content equals publication for the purpose of Section 499 IPC.

The Delhi High Court, in a significant ruling on Monday, has declared that each retweet of defamatory content on social media constitutes “publication” and falls under the purview of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which deals with defamation.

These observations were made by a single bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma while hearing Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s appeal against summons issued to him in a 2019 defamation complaint filed by Vikas Sankritayan, who operates the social media post ‘I Support Narendra Modi’. In 2018, Sankritayan filed a defamation complaint against Kejriwal for retweeting YouTuber Dhruv Rathee’s comment.

The Court upheld the summon orders and refused to quash the defamation case observing that retweeting defamatory content amounts to defamation as retweeting a content, which is allegedly defamatory, on the Twitter account and projecting it to be as if his own views, will prima facie attract the liability under Section 499 of IPC.

The Court highlighted that that the impact of defamatory content may be less severe if retweeted by an individual with negligible followers or limited influence but when a public figure, particularly one with a political standing, tweets or retweets a defamatory post, the stakes and repercussions escalate given the broader implications on society. The audience, therefore, becomes the citizenry at large, whose opinions and decisions may be influenced by the information they consume, including defamatory statements published on social media.

Download the order here.

Bombay HC restores Bharti Singh, Shekhar Suman’s plea for quashing FIR hurting religious sentiments

The Bombay High Court has revived a petition filed by comedienne Bharti Singh and actor Shekhar Suman to quash a 2010 FIR against them for allegedly offending the sentiments of Muslims. The FIR was filed against them for making offensive remarks about a Quranic verse on a comedy show.

Read more here

Fighter gets legal notice from Air Force Officer for kissing scene in uniform

A legal notice has been issued against Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone’s latest movie ‘Fighter’ over a kissing scene wearing the Indian Air Force uniform.

According to India TV, the objection raised by an IAF officer pertains to the portrayal of a kissing scene, particularly while the characters are dressed in military attire. The officer asserts that such a depiction undermines the dignity and honor associated with the uniform.

Siddharth Anand, the director of the film rebutted as under “I am glad to answer this question. This film is in complete conjunction with the IAF. IAF has been a co-collaborator on the film and has been a huge associate partner on our film. This film has gone through meticulous procedures with the IAF, right from the submission of the script, to the production planning, viewing the film before the censor saw it on the censor board, watching it again at the IAF, reviewing the film after the censor, and then giving us a physical copy of the NOC No Objection Certificate. After that, we got the certificate. We got the censor certificate. Then, we showed the entire film to everyone in the Air Force, including the Air Force Chief, Mr. Chaudhary, and over 100 Air Marshals from across the country. We called them and hosted a screening for them one day before the film’s release in Delhi, and they gave us a standing ovation.”

Read more here and here.

Telangana HC instructs CBFC to issue fresh certification to ‘Vyuham’

A division bench of Telangana High Court recently directed the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to watch the Telugu movie ‘Vyuham’ and take a decision with regard to its certification on or before February 9.

A single-judge had earlier set aside the U rated censor certificate issued to the movie in December 2023 after Telugu Desam Party (TDP) moved the Court alleging that the movie was defamatory to the party and its leaders and had also directed the CBFC to reconsider its decision in accordance with the law within a period of three weeks. The judgment of the single-judge was challenged by the movie director P Ram Gopal Varma and producer Ramadhutha Creations before a division bench. The division bench agreed with the Single Judge’s decision, however, modified the impugned order and directed that the Revising Committee should be reconstituted, and it should duly communicate its decision for certification of the Film on or before 09 February, 2024. The Court reasoned that the producer has a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution of India to allude to true incidents with his perspective. It also said that the producer has invested money for producing the film and is required to book the theatres in advance to ensure the release of the movie.

Read more about it here.

No proposal to create separate category of rights for AI generated content

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Som Parkash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, said the current legal framework under the patent and copyright act is well-equipped to protect Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated works and related innovations and presently there is no proposal to create any separate rights or amend the law.

Read the press release here.

Vishesh Films moves Delhi HC over IP rights in Aashique Film franchise

Vishesh Films has moved the Delhi High Court in a lawsuit against T-Series claiming that the film studio is “unilaterally exploiting ownership” over the Aashiqui franchise and taking steps towards making a third instalment of the film.

As per reports, Vishesh Films has claimed that both parties were in talks about producing Aashiqui 3 as the third instalment of the franchise, but T-Series took this step with a proposed film despite both parties having joint ownership in the IP of the Aashiqui Franchise, in terms of the agreements entered into between the parties.

Senior Advocate Amit Sibal, representing T-Series  submitted his client is not producing any derivative works of Aashiqui or Aashiqui 2 as of date. Sibal said his client is not making any film titled Aashiqui 3 and will not project or promote the proposed movie Tu Hi Aashiqui or Tu Hi Aashiqui Hai as part of the Aashique Film franchise and is willing to issue a “clarification to the press” to avoid any likelihood of confusion.

Read more here.