The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the summons issued by a trial court against Bollywood movie ‘Jolly LLB 2’ producers Fox Star Studios on a defamation case by Bata footwear company which was aggrieved by a dialogue in the film.
“I am not going to stay it (summons),” Justice Mukta Gupta said and issued notice to the Delhi Police and sought its reply before the next date of hearing on March 30.
Apart from Fox Star, the trial court on February 8 had also summoned actors Akshay Kumar and Annu Kapoor, writer Subhash Kapoor and some top officials of the company, asking them to appear before it on February 22.
The high court refused to stay the summons saying only Fox Star was before it, whereas the others have not, and the company can appear before the trial court through an authorised representative.
“I am conscious of the fact that under garb of the company, a stay is being sought for everyone in the case,” the judge said.
Pressing for a stay, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Fox Star, said the word ‘bata’ has been removed from the movie.
The lawyer said the entire process from lodging of the defamation complaint to the issuing of summons was carried out with “unruly haste” and hence interim protection was required.
Bata India Limited, in its complaint, had alleged that “disparaging comments and defamatory reference” was made to Bata as a brand in the main trailer of the motion picture.
The footwear company had said that “the brand Bata has been deliberately shown in an extremely bad taste and the dialogue was intended to convey that Bata is adorned only by lower strata of society and one should feel humiliated if one wears Bata footwear”.
The trial court had said that a prima facie case for commission of offence punishable under sections 499 (defamation), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC was made out and there are adequate grounds for proceeding against every one of the accused in the case.