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Gujarat High Court Dismisses Petition by 2002 Riots Victim Alleging Defamation Against Filmmakers ‘Rajdhani Express’ 

The Gujarat High Court has dismissed the petition by 2002 riots victim alleging defamation against filmmakers ‘Rajdhani Express’.

The single bench of Justice Sandeep N. Bhatt has observed that it is rightly found by the Courts below that the complainant has not produced any evidence before the lower Court that the accused have used the photograph of the complainant with the intention of damaging the personal reputation of the complainant. Even the lower court has recorded in its order that no evidence has been produced that the complainant has suffered any loss due to act of the accused. 

The petitioner was a victim of the riots that took place in Gujarat in 2002 and that his picture was published in all the newspapers as face of the riots and that was so traumatising to the petitioner that the present petitioner had to leave the State of Gujarat and had to live in Kolkata for 3 years. It is submitted that the petitioner returned to Gujarat in the year 2005 and since then the petitioner is staying at the address mentioned in the cause title herein above.

A film titled “Rajdhani Express” was released on 04.01.2013 and the petitioner was shocked to see that the picture of the petitioner taken by the journalist at the time of Gujarat Riots, 2002 was used without prior approval or consent of the petitioner in the said film. It is submitted that the petitioner has been portrayed in the said film in such a manner that it has caused great harm to his reputation and has endangered his personal safety and security. 

The film has showcased the present petitioner in a scandalous background which harms and undermines the reputation of the petitioner. Due to the use of such image in the said film, the petitioner had to relive the traumatising events of Gujarat riots of 2002.

The Chief Additional Metropolitan Magistrate on 10.03.2014 summarily dismissed the complaint of the petitioner under Section 203 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the ground that the photographs and the video compact disk of the film “Rajdhani Express” which has been produced by the petitioner as evidence does not prove that the said photograph which has been shown in the said film is of the applicant and that it has harmed or caused damage to the reputation of the petitioner.

The Court has formed an opinion that since ingredients of the complaint are not satisfied on bare reading of the complaint as well as material available on record, the complaint is required to be dismissed under the provisions of Sections 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code. 

The order was challenged before the revisional court. The Revision Court has also framed issues for determination and after considering the material available on record, it has found that the trial Court has given cogent and convincing reasons and the order passed by the trial Court is found to be just and proper. Revisional Court has also come to the conclusion that no prima faice offence is made out from the material available on record against the accused persons.

The petitioner submitted that both the Courts below have not properly considered the fact that prima facie offence is made out under Section 499 of IPC. 

The court held that both the Courts below have appreciated the material available on record and given concurrent findings of fact and appreciated the provisions of law in proper manner. Revisional Court has also exercised its jurisdiction in proper manner by confirming the order of the trial Court. 

Decision Summary

The ruling was delivered by the Single Bench of Gujarat High Court comprising Justice Sandeep N. Bhatt.

Advocate AJ Yagnik appeared for the Applicant while the Defendant was represented by Advocate Chintan Dave


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