Bombay HC extends stay in Gangubai Kathiawadi criminal defamation suit

Accused producers of the film, and actor Alia Bhatt, are provided interim relief from summons

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday extended the stayed proceedings in the criminal defamation suit filed against the producers and actor Alia Bhatt of the upcoming film Gangubai Kathiawadi.

A Single Bench of Justice S.K. Shinde was hearing a plea filed by director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ms. Bhatt, and authors S. Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges on whose book, The Mafia Queens of Mumbai, the film is based.

The petitioners challenged the summons issued against by them by a magistrate court after one Babuji Shah claimed to be the adopted son of the late Gangubai Kathiawadi, and said the movie and the chapter in the book are defamatory and tarnish the image of his mother.

The court extended the stay granted in August and said the complainant had failed to show proof as to how he was the adopted son of the deceased woman.

The court also said: “The issue deserves attention since the right to raise grievances against defamation is limited to family members or close relatives, hence it was important for Mr. Shah to prove he was one of them.”

The Bench noted that a prima facie case is made out for the grant of interim relief, and stayed the proceedings and summons against the accused.

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