IN THE COURT OF Dr. KAMINI LAU: ADDL. DISTRICT JUDGE II (CENTRAL DISTRICT): TIS HAZARI COURTS: DELHI

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1 IN THE COURT OF Dr. KAMINI LAU: ADDL. DISTRICT JUDGE II (CENTRAL DISTRICT): TIS HAZARI COURTS: DELHI CS No. 323/2013 Unique Case ID No.: 02401C Inspector Anil Kumar S/o Sh. Mahender Singh R/o B 9/T, Delhi Police Apartments, Mayur Vihar, Delhi Presently in custody at Tihar Jail 2. Sh. Mahender Singh Sh. Thakur Ganpat Singh R/o B 9/T, Delhi Police Apartments, Mayur Vihar, Delhi Versus 1. M/s. I Sky B Through Sh. Rajiv Mishra (Manager) 11, Community Center, Masjid Moth, Greater Kailash II, New Delhi Plaintiffs 2. M/s. Zee Television Ltd. 135, Dr. Annie Beasent Road, Continental Building, Worli, Mumbai (Maharashtra) Also at: J 27, Extension I, New Delhi Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 1

2 3. 'India's Most Wanted' Zee Network P.O. 6589, Worli, Mumbai ; also at Brig City House, 2, Masjid Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi Sh. Arun Srivastava Researcher of Programme Mystery Unfold Sector 16 A, Free Star Studio, Film City, NOIDA (U.P.) and also at EL' TV C/o Zee TV J 27, South Extension I, New Delhi Defendants Date of Institution: Judgment Reserved on: Judgment Pronounced on: JUDGMENT (Oral): (1) Recently, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Kurian Joseph of Supreme Court of India while addressing Bar Council of India Meet at Chennai on citing pressure on the judiciary during the Nirbhaya rape case, had remarked that Media Trials in pending cases should be avoided and thereby judges saved of the enormous strain created by it. "Please stop trying (cases) in the media till a case is over. Never try a case in the Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 2

3 media, it creates a lot of pressure on judges, they are also human beings," Referring to "the amount of pressure that is built," he recalled how a judge who dealt with the case had once told him that "had he not given that punishment, they would have hung him." The Judge said "If I had not given that punishment they would have hung me, the media had already given their verdict, (like) it is going to be this only," according to Hon'ble Mr. Justice Kurian Joseph. He, however, added, "he (the Judge who went into Nirbhaya case) had reasons to give the punishment, not because the media said it, but because he had reasons." He said that the judge who dealt with the sensational case "was also making a casual remark that had it not been done, the people would have hung him because that was the type of pressure... (hence) never ever resort to media trial, you do it after the judgement is delivered." (2) It is in the light of the above that I now proceed to decide the case filed by the plaintiff Anil Kumar seeking damages to the tune of Rs. 10 Lacs from the defendants for airing the docudrama India's Most Wanted C.P. Shoot Out Case by allegedly twisting and distorting the facts and events thereby causing immense damage to the reputation of the plaintiff and a further directions to the defendants prohibiting the telecaste of Connaught Place Shoot out case in any manner. (3) Here, I may observe that vide order dated the present suit bearing CS No. 323/2013 under the title Anil Kumar Vs. M/s. I Sky B & Ors. has been consolidated with suit bearing CS No. 324/2013 Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 3

4 under the title 'Satyaveer Singh Rathi Vs. Zee TV & Ors.' and suit bearing CS No. 325/2013 under the title 'Ashok Singh Rana Vs. Zee Television & Ors.' involving common evidence and hence all the three files are taken up together but are being disposed off as such. Plaintiff's Case: (4) The case of the plaintiffs is that the plaintiff No.1 Inspector Anil Kumar is an Inspector with the Delhi Police at the time of the present suit and facing trial in the Connaught Place Shoot Out case vide RC No. 10 S/(97) dated under Section 302, 307, 210 and 34 Indian Penal Code. It is pleaded that the plaintiff no.2 is the father of the plaintiff no.1 and is vitally concerned with the welfare and interest of the plaintiff no.1. According to the plaintiff, the defendants are into the business of making, producing and telecasting programmes relating to features of general public interest. It is pleaded that when the plaintiff no. 1 was in judicial custody in the aforesaid case and was facing trial, one Rajiv Mehra of the defendant no.1 had publicized that they were planning to produce and air a documentary drama (docudrama) on the Connaught Place Shoot Out case. It is pleaded that the incident was to be shot using actors who were look likes of the accused and wide publicity was given to the proposed production and airing of the docudrama pursuant to which the plaintiff no.1 through the plaintiff no.2 issued a legal notice on to the defendants to desist from producing and airing the said Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 4

5 docudrama. However, the plaintiff learnt that the defendant no.1 with a view to circumvent the implication of the notice dated did not air the docudrama themselves but passed on the inputs, film footage and script to the defendant no.2 who caused the same to be aired on between 10:00 PM to 10:30 PM on Zee Network in a programme styled as India s Most Wanted which programme is produced by the defendant no.3. It is pleaded that because of the same, the plaintiff no.1 has suffered a grave and irreparable loss to his name and reputation which the plaintiff has quantified at Rs. 10 Lacs which according to him, the defendants are jointly liable. (5) According to the plaintiffs, a few days later they learnt that the defendant no.2 was planning to re air the said docudrama pursuant to which the plaintiffs sent another legal notice dated to the defendant to desist from doing so but again a clip was shown regarding this case. It is also pleaded that on or about the defendant no.1 Arun Srivastava established contact with the family members of the plaintiff no.1 and sought to fix an interview with the family and lawyers of the plaintiff no.1 and claimed that the interview would be used together with such of the family and lawyers of the victims of the C.P. Shoot out case to put together a television episode along the lines of India Most Wanted. It is further pleaded that the family of the plaintiff no.1 again protested and sent another notice dated According to the plaintiffs, the actions of the defendants, if not stopped, would result in Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 5

6 defamation, loss of name and reputation of the plaintiff no.1 and such actions of the defendants have a direct and important bearing on the trial of the case. (6) In this background, plaintiff has sought damages to the tune of Rs.10 lacs from the defendants as compensation for loss of reputation and fair name caused by airing by defendant no.2 of its special docudrama on on The plaintiffs are also seeking restrain against all the defendants from producing any docudrama/ episodes/ serials in connection with the C.P. Shootout case. Defendant's Case: (7) Pursuant to the filing of the suit, summons were issued to the defendants who had put in their appearance in the Court. Written Statement was filed on behalf of the defendants no.2 to 4 wherein a preliminary objection has been raised that India's Most wanted India Fights Back is an immensely popular serial on ZEE TV and provides information to the public about alleged criminals and shows a reenactment of real life crimes. It is pleaded that in this serial the defendants has covered various crime stories and the first episode covered the C.P. Shoot Out Case wherein the misadventure of excessive police action was shown. It is further pleaded that in some episodes they not only pointed out at the shortcomings of the police inaction but also showered praise on the efficiency and the dedication of the police when deserved Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 6

7 and it provided valuable suggestion to the public about how to protect themselves from thieves, robbers and house servants by providing valuable suggestions. It is also pleaded that the serial is informative in nature, in public interest and is not directed against any one alleged criminal or a crime incident and lately even police have sought the help of the defendants and the serial has helped the police in apprehending five dreaded criminal. According to the defendants, they did not intend to cause any prejudice to the plaintiff and neither the plaintiff nor any other member of the police party have not been branded or referred to as criminals and the sole aim of the defendants was to create awareness/ knowledge of the actual incidents in the minds of the public at large. It is pleaded that the injunction as prayed for by the plaintiff against the defendants cannot be granted since it would impinge upon the rights of the defendants guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 19 (1) (a). According to the defendants, innumerable number of articles have been published in the newspapers and other print media not only providing information about the incident but also condemning it as well. It is further pleaded that the defendants have not caused any defamation to the plaintiff and the episode C.P. Shoot Out Case was not aired qua the actions of the plaintiff and has covered the shoot out from the public point of view. It is also pleaded that the present suit does not disclose any cause of action in favour of the plaintiff against the defendants and the plaintiff has no right to claim any damages against the defendants. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 7

8 (8) On merits, the defendants have denied all the allegations made against them by the plaintiffs. It is pleaded that the producing and airing of the programme India's Most Wanted would in no way prejudice the plaintiff's right or constitute a trial by media as asserted by the plaintiff. It is further pleaded that the defendants no.2 to 4 have no relation with either M/s. I Sky B or with Mr. Rajiv Mishra in the production or transfer of the episode pertaining to the CP shoot out case since the docudrama of the said incident was a brain child of the defendants no.2 to 4 and the same was not acquired from either M/s. I Sky B or Mr. Rajiv Mehra. It is also pleaded that the plaintiff no.1 has nowhere in the episode been branded as a criminal and the plaintiffs have carried out a misadventure by filing a suit and it is not clear as to how the plaintiffs have suffered any damages and have quantified the loss to the tune of Rs.10 lacs. It is further pleaded that the alleged clip dated was shown regarding this case in the next episode was only a recap which was of a duration of less than one minute. According to the defendants no.2 to 4, they cannot understand as to how the airing of the said incident which has already been covered on all the front pages of newspapers and which also made the headlines in media can cause any prejudice to the plaintiff no.1, when all that the serial India s Most Wanted depicts the correct and truthful picturization of the incident. It is also pleaded that airing of the incident will not cause any prejudice to the plaintiff no.1 and will not in any manner have any direct of important bearing on the conduct of the trial of Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 8

9 the plaintiff no.1. ISSUES FRAMED: (9) The plaintiff has filed his replications to the written statements of the defendants. Thereafter on the basis of the pleadings of the parties, vide order dated the Hon'ble Delhi High Court has framed the following issues: 1. Whether on account of producing and airing serial Docudrama on the Connaught Place Shoot Out case, the defendants are not liable to pay damages to the plaintiff for defamation and for causing loss and hurt to the personal and professional reputation and good name of the plaintiff? (OPP) 2. Whether the defendants are thereby liable to be injuncted permanently from airing or telecasing the episode Docudrama on the Connaught Place shoot out case? (OPP) 3. Relief. EVIDENCE: (10) In order to discharge the onus upon them, the plaintiff no.1 Anil Kumar has examined himself as PW1 and the plaintiff no.2 Mahender Singh has examined himself as PW2. On the other hand the defendants no.2 to 4 have examined one Rajesh Choudhary, Manager (Legal) as DW1. (11) Here, I may observe that initially the suits were filed before the Delhi High Court and vide order dated passed by Hon'ble Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 9

10 Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri in case under the title 'Ashok Singh Rana Vs. M/s. Zee Television & Ors.' directed the listing of all the three suits together. Further, vide order dated passed in the case under the title 'Inspector Anil Kumar Vs. M/s. I Sky B & Ors.' all the three cases i.e, 'Satyavir Singh Rathi Vs. Zee TV & Ors', Anil Kumar Vs. M/s. I Sky B & Ors.' and 'Ashok Singh Rana Vs. Zee TV & Ors.' have been consolidated by the Ld. Predecessor of this Court since the controversy in all the three cases is almost same and the common evidence has to be led. It has also been observed by the Ld. Predecessor Court that the case bearing No. 300/2006 (i.e. case under the title 'Ashok Singh Rana Vs. M/s. Zee Television') shall be treated as the main case and the evidence recorded in the said case, shall be read in other matters also. Therefore, the witnesses examined by the defendants in all the three cases is the same and has to be read in all the three cases. (12) For the sake of convenience, the details of the witnesses examined by both the parties and their depositions are put in a tabulated form as under: Sr. No. Name of witness Deposition Witnesses of the plaintiff: 1 Anil Kumar (PW1) PW1 Anil Kumar has in his examination in chief by way of affidavit Ex.P 1 has corroborated what has been earlier stated in the main plaint. He has placed his reliance on the legal notice dated which is Ex.PW1/A and copy of the plaint which is Ex.PW1/B. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 10

11 In his cross examination, the witness has deposed on the following aspects: That the FIR was lodged against him and others including S.S. Rathi, SI Ashok Rana and others on and charge sheet was filed against him and others in July That the Investigating Officer had filed all the relevant documents including memo along with the charge sheet and on the basis of the same, charges were framed against him and others by the Court. That after the incident of it became the headline in the newspapers and the incident was covered by the print and electronic media. That the prosecution has been prosecuting the accused persons in the said criminal case on the basis of list of witnesses and other evidence filed by the Investigating Officer along with charge sheet. That in the telecast of India s Most Wanted his photograph was shown in the background of the screen and his name was announced in the serial. That the names of all the members of raiding party who were involved in the incident were already published in the print and electronic media. That the prosecution has not amended its list of witnesses after telecast of both the episodes nor the prosecution used the said episodes as an evidence during the trial. That he does not recollect as to how many witnesses had been cited against him in the criminal case but 75 witnesses have been examined by the prosecution. That the serial named India Fights Back had helped the police force on number of occasions to trace the offenders. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 11

12 That after the episode of every serial the detail and photographs of brave police official was to be displayed on the screen. That he has no knowledge whether Delhi Police and police of other State also used to approach the broadcaster of the said serial for help to apprehend the offenders. That police had apprehended several dreaded offenders with the help of said serial and the serial was also getting feedback from the public, of the offenders which help the police to nab the criminals. That he was shown as most wanted criminal in the docudrama. That from the episodes it was not clear whether he was to be arrested by the police or he had already been arrested. That all his relatives and friends were aware about the said incident and about his arrest before telecasting the said episodes. That before telecasting the said serial his relatives and friends were believing that the alleged incident had taken place at the time of performing my duties but after watching the said serial they started believing that he had committed a crime, thus his reputation has been low down in their eyes, which fact they told to him personally. That he had explained his friends and relatives but they were not satisfied with his explanation and some of his friends and relatives stopped maintaining relationship with him, That he has not mentioned about the name of his relatives and friends who told him about the above facts. That none of his friends and relatives ever complained him about his status of being low down. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 12

13 2. Mahender Singh (PW2) PW2 Mahender Singh is the father of the plaintiff no.1 who has in his affidavit of evidence which is Ex.PW2/A supported the case of the plaintiff Anil Kumar. and the legal notices which is Ex.PW1/B. He has deposed on the following aspects: 1. That while Anil Kumar was in custody, he came to know through the press that the defendants were planning to make a docudrama on the unfortunate incident of the shoot out at Connaught Place using look alike actors, copy of which newspaper cutting is Ex.PW1/A. 2. That he discussed with his son, other family members and his son s lawyers who were of the opinion that if such a broadcast was to take place, it would be illegal and damaging to the interest of plaintiff no.1 after which his son sent a legal notice to the defendants which is Ex.PW1/B. 3. That in spite of receipt of the legal notice, on the night of the defendants telecasted an episode of approximately half an hour under the title India s Most Wanted. 4. That he was extremely shocked and upset on viewing the episode and was so sickened by the deliberate portrayal of his son as blood thirsty and trigger happy, killer of innocent persons, that he could not control himself and left the room in which the television set was placed. 5. That repeatedly the anchor of the programme namely Sohaib Ilyasi referred to his son and other police officers as cold blooded killers and the theme India s Most Wanted repeatedly seen on the TV juxtaposed with the commentary given by Sh. Sohaib Ilyasi, the impression clearly, definitely and forcefully conveyed was that his son was a Wanted Killer. 6. That soon after the airing of the programme he was deluged with phone calls from friends who made hurting remarks about his son s personal Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 13

14 and professional character. 7. That after the telecast on the defendants again rebroadcast the same on pursuant to which a legal notice dated was sent to the defendants which is Ex.PW1/C and its postal receipts are Ex.PW1/D. In his cross examination the witness has deposed on the following aspects: That the persons killed in cannaught place was on account of raid conducted by his son and others. That the Sessions Court has convicted the plaintiff and other persons involved in the shoot out. That he is a retired Sub Inspector from Delhi Police. That the concerned DCP informs the media about any crime committed in the town. That the incident was widely reported in the print media during the four months from the date of incident and date of surrender i.e That the names of the raiding party including the plaintiff and other persons appeared in the newspaper along with captions that there was a Connaught place shooting incident by the police. That he cannot say whether the name of the plaintiff as one of the accused person was known to all the relatives, friends, near ones related and known to them. That after the surrender of the plaintiff the question of his being most wanted did not arise. That from July 1997 till March 1998 charges had been framed on the accused persons including the plaintiff. That the serial telecasted by the defendant no.2 Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 14

15 was after the charges were framed in the court. Witness of the Defendants: 3. Rajesh Choudhary (DW1) DW1 Rajesh Choudhary is the Manager (Legal) has in his examination in chief by way of affidavit Ex.DW1/4 has corroborated what has been earlier stated in the written statement. In his cross examination the witness has deposed on the following aspects: That a legal notice was received in their company having been sent by Sh. Anil Kumar but he does not recollect whether two notices dated and having been sent by plaintiff were received in his office or not. That Ms. Sohaib Ilyasi was producer and director and anchor of the said serial which was aired on and re telecast on That a criminal case was spending against the plaintiff when the India's Most Wanted serial was being aired. That he does not recollect whether look alike of plaintiff Sh. S.S. Rathi was shown hitting the car of the deceased person by his official police gypsy, subsequently dragging the car of occupant on the road shooting them with pistol at point blank range and kicking the bodies. That the plaintiff and his team was in judicial custody on and and they were not wanted or that they were fugitives. That since the date of the occurrence of the incident, all the version of mass media had had carried the same news and the said series was broadcasted after almost one year of the incident. That as per the uplinking and downlinking guidelines issued by the Government of India Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 15

16 (Ministry of Broad Casting Company) is required to keep the content for the period of 90 days. That the CD of the said programme was kept for 10 long years by Zee television which later got damaged. Short Discussion on Evidence: (13) At the initial stage when the suit was filed the CD of the 'docudrama' on the CP Shoot out case had been produced before the Delhi High Court and duly played in the Court on but for reasons best known to the defendants the said CD/ micro cassette was thereafter never placed on record. The plaintiff throughout had been raising an objection with regard to the authenticity of the CD played before the Delhi High Court claiming it to be doctored and also on the correctness of the events as shown in the visuals. It is in this background that in order to put an end to this controversy the Hon'ble Delhi High Court on passed an order in CM (M) No. 612/2000 directing the Trial Court to call for the Micro Cassettes seized in FIR No. 94/2000 dated to ascertain if the contents are not different to what was shown to the Court and then proceed in accordance with law. Pursuant to the same the Ld. Predecessor of this Court had repeatedly summoned for the said micro cassette which was never produced and ultimately on Inspector R.K. Ojha (examined as PW5 in the consolidated case bearing CS No.324/2013 under the title Satyaveer Singh Rathi Vs. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 16

17 Zee TV & ors.) personally appeared before the Ld. Predecessor Court when it was for the first time that the Delhi Police informed the Court that no such micro cassette was ever seized in case FIR No. 94/2000, under Sections 498 A/304/201/34 IPC, State Vs. Sohaib Ilyasi. It is in this background that the defendants being the Producers and Broadcasters were directed to produce the same in the Court. Initially the defendants were highly evasive and stated that the same was not preserved and had been misplaced/ destroyed during the shifting of the office at Mumbai but later on they most reluctantly placed on before this Court a soft copy of the 'docudrama' on the CP Shoot out case in a Pen Drive, copy of which was given to all the parties. The said 'docudrama' of the CP Shootout Case was then played in the Court in the presence of the plaintiff and the respective counsels and it was observed by me that many of the portions of the said copy so produced before me by the defendants was found to be erased at places. The Ld. Counsel for Zee Television pleaded his helplessness stating that as per his information the defendants have no other copy of the same and whatever was available, they have produced in the Court. (14) This being the background, though the plaintiff disputed the authenticity and correctness of the same claiming the same to be doctored but since despite best efforts no copy of the original version was available with the Delhi Police as evident from the proceeding dated when Inspector R.K. Ojha, SHO Police Station Pandav Nagar informed Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 17

18 the Court that no micro cassette had been seized in case FIR No. 94/2000, under Section 498 A/304/201/34 IPC, State Vs. Sohaib Ilyasi; therefore the only version now available with this Court is the one which is in the form of a Pen Drive, the Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff agreed to proceed on the basis of the version duly admitted by the defendants who have filed the soft copy before this Court. He has argued that the docudrama does not depict the correct sequence of events which have been twisted and distorted only to sensationalize the incident. He has in this regard placed his reliance on the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the Trial Court (not disputed by the parties) on the basis of which the Ld. Trial Court had convicted the plaintiff (not disputed by the parties) which conviction has been upheld by the Delhi High Court (not disputed by the parties) and the Hon'ble Supreme Court (not disputed by the parties) and has pointed that in the episode the present plaintiff along with Satyaveer Singh Rathi (plaintiff in CS No. 324/2013 under the title Satyaveer Singh Rathi Vs. M/s. Zee TV & Ors.) and Ashok Singh Rana (plaintiff in CS No. 325/2013 under the title 'Ashok Singh Rana Vs. Zee TV & Ors.) has been shown to be a cold blooded murderer, who had smashed their vehicle into the vehicle of the deceased in order to compel it to stop after which the vehicle of the deceased surrounded it from all the sides by police vehicles and police personnels indulged into indiscriminate firing thereby killing two persons in the vehicle and injuring the third. He has also pointed out that in the docudrama Satyaveer Singh Rathi (plaintiff in CS No. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 18

19 324/2013 under the title Satyaveer Singh Rathi Vs. M/s. Zee TV & Ors.) has been shown to be pulling out one of the deceased i.e. Jagjit Singh from the driver seat, dragging him and after throwing him on the ground pumping bullets into him and thereafter kicking his dead body. Here, I may note that while paying the 'docudrama' in the Court, it has been noticed that after this portion where the deceased Jagjit Singh has been shown to have been killed and his body was shown to have been dragged and the bullets have been pumped into his chest, suddenly the remaining portion where the plaintiff is shown to have kicked the dead body has been erased where screen has became blank for about three seconds. (15) It is an admitted case of the defendants and never disputed that when the docudrama 'India's Most Wanted' was scripted, prepared and telecasted, the plaintiff was in Judicial Custody, the investigations were complete and the charge sheet in the case had been filed and hence there was sufficient opportunity for the makers and broadcasters to have verified the correctness of the contents which they apparently did not do. The distortion of the events in the version of the docudrama vis a vis the events as revealed during investigations and found established in the Court (as upheld till the Hon'ble Supreme Court) are now being put in a tabulated form as under: Sr. No. Disputed facts/ events Charge sheet filed by Findings of Ld. Trial shown/ display by Zee CBI Court/ High Court/ TV Hon'ble Supreme Court 1. (a) Hit the esteem car Out of 15 persons 10 Supreme Court Held in Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 19

20 from behind with a gypsy and all police vehicles surrounded the vehicle of the deceased (b) Shot from a point black range from his pistol. (c) Kicked the injured with his leg, (d) Dragging the car occupants out of the car. persons have been charge sheeted and 5 persons have been placed in Column No. 12 as they did not fire. (a) No mention of the vehicle of the plaintiff hitting the vehicle of the deceased from behind or the police vehicles surrounding the vehicle of the deceased from all the sides. (b) No mention of Satyaveer Singh Rathi shooting the deceased Jagjit Singh from point blank range. (c) No mention of any police officer kicking the injured with legs. (d) No mention of dragging the occupants out of the car. Para No. 59: We have seen the site plan and notice that ACP Rathi was sitting in his Gypsy about 15 meters away from the car and Anil Kumar was with him when the incident of shooting took place. (a) No finding of either Trial Court or Delhi High Court or the Hon'ble Supreme Court on the vehicle of the plaintiff hitting the vehicle of the deceased from behind. (b) No finding of either Trial Court or Delhi High Court or the Hon'ble Supreme Court on Satyaveer Singh shooting the deceased Jagjit Singh from point blank range. (c) No finding of either Trial Court or Delhi High Court or the Hon'ble Supreme Court on dragging the occupants out of the car. (d) No finding of either Trial Court or Delhi High Court or the Hon'ble Supreme Court on any police officer kicking the injured with legs and throwing him Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 20

21 2. The report of CFSL reveals that the pistol was not in working order. The report Dated filed by CFSL CBI is as follows: The Italian Pistol of 7.65mm is in working order and fired through. on the ground. The Trial Court, High Court as well as the Hon ble Supreme Court did not give any findings on this report. Transcript of the relevant/ offending portion in the Docudrama: (16) Now coming to the portion which have been highlighted as offending, the Transcript of the same is as under: First Episode India's Most Wanted ke premier show me aaj pesh hai... Sutron ke mutabik ko Dilli Police ne (photograph of S.S. Rathi plaintiff in CS No. 324/2013 under the title Satyaveer Singh Rathi Vs. M/s. Zee TV & Ors.) along with the newspaper cutting, Dilli Police ne do begunahon ko goli se uda diya, has been shown) UP ke kukhyat apradhi ke badle do nirdosh vyapariyon ko dilli police ne bhoon dalaa. Thereafter there is a narration of the events and recreated version. A police gypsy is shown to have hit the car after which the police officers surrounded the car from three sides and indiscriminately fired at two persons (This portion, it is alleged, not as per the version established during investigation or trial and Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 21

22 the perusal of the Charge Sheet and the Judgments of the Ld. Trial Court, Hon'ble Delhi High Court and Hon'ble Supreme Court confirm the same). Crime Branch ke mukhya Commissioner ne bataya ki gaadi me baithe hue logon ne police par pehle goliyan chalai thi. (17) Thereafter certain comments which have been and so highlighted by the Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff as objectionable are as under: Dinesh Goyal (Victim's brother) has been shown with comments...jab humne vahan ja kar dekha to un logon ne unko terrorist declare kar diya tha...: Thereafter, a public person is shown with the comments... Hum to unke hathon me kathputliyon ki tarah hain. Jab man chahe to humare hath me revolver de denge. Drugs jeb me dal denge to hum kya karenge... Towards the ends of the episode, it has been displayed that India's Most Wanted India Fights Back is a Crime Prevention Team. Also later in the programme, Dilli police ke policekarmiyon ne do massom naujavanon ko maut ke ghat utaar diya. India's Most Wanted India Fights Back, Crime Prevention Team with Fax No has been shown. The Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff has argued that the defendants are a self styled vigilant Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 22

23 team who cannot take over the essential state function of investigations of a criminal offence. Second Episode: (18) When the second episode starts, it starts with the case of Netherland citizen Marshal Timer Eds aged 25 years who overstayed in India. Thereafter it comes to CP Shoot Out case. Connaught Place me dilli police karmiyon ne do logon ko maut ke ghat utaar diya. Thereafter, three vehicles were shown to have surrounded another car from three sides. At 3:17 Minutes of the soft copy of the docudrama as filed in the Court, it has been shown that information regarding Yasin was received with Anil Kumar, when photograph of ACP S.S. Rathi (plaintiff in CS No. 324/2013 under the title Satyaveer Singh Rathi Vs. M/s. Zee TV & Ors.) is prominently shown to which the Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff has serious objections as it reveals the identity of ACP S.S. Rathi. Thereafter, Inspector Anil Kumar is shown to be communicating about the information that the person sitting in the blue colour car with UP number, they received order of following the car (this version is established in the Charge Sheet and also during trial). Jagjit was mistaken as criminal Yasin. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 23

24 Throughout this episode the narration is on the basis of the sources i.e. Sutron ke Mutabik which is despite the fact that the investigations had been completed and the charge sheet was filed in the Court and hence according to the Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff the narration should have been on the basis of investigations. 14 police officials are shown to have collected at the spot with arms and ammunitions and thereafter they all surrounded the car which their vehicles from all three sides, which according to the Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff is a version which is factually incorrect and not a version establishing during the investigations as reflected in the Charge Sheet or established during trial. At 5:29 to 5:31 minutes of the soft copy of the docudrama as filed in the Court, the police party/ plaintiff is shown to have dragged Jagjit Singh outside the vehicle, thrown him on the ground and pumped another bullet into his chest, which again is not the correct version established during trial and this has been so picturized only for sensitizing the event. Sutron ke mutabik, hatya jaisa sangin apradh karne ke baad bhi in accused police karmiyon ke hosh thikane nahi aaye aur ulta inhone sharif bhartiya naagrikon ke upar firearms rakhne aur police par pehle goli chalane ka (photograph of S. S. Rathi is shown in the background) jhutha mukadma dayar kar diya... Thereafter Dinesh Goyal (Victim's Brother) comments:...joh ye encounter ya sab Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 24

25 kuch kiya hai ye police ne kiya hai aur unhe show kiya hai ki vo terrorist usme travel kar rahe hain. Aur jab humne vahan ja kar dekha to unhone unko terrorist declare kar diya tha... Par timely hum log press conference pahunch gaye they to press conference ne humare taraf vo kiya hum yeh unko batane mein kaamyab rahe ki ye log terrorist nahin they or ye innocent businessmen they or jinko police ne apne out of turn promotion ke liye or unko us ke liye mara hai... (This entire portion has been objected to by the Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff as being an attempt to promote the case of the deceased). Question put by the Anchor: Police ka yeh kehna hai ki Italian revolver apke bhai ke pas se mili hai... Apka kya kehna hai? Dinesh Goyal: Aisa hai voh kisi weapon ke bare me nahin jante they aur unke pas aisa koi weapon nahin tha na unhone aisa koi weapon rakha. Yeh to CBI ne bhi clear kar diya ki joh weapon uske vahanpar rakha tha voh Police ne plant kiya hai. Voh do mahine kae pehle se hi nahin chla tha. This portion has been objected to by the Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff being an attempt to over reach the version of the charge sheet in order to prejudice the case of the plaintiff which was subjudice at the relevant time. Public Person: Pehly pucha jana chahiye tha yah warn kiya jana chahiye tha. Unka identification lena chahiya tha unhe marne se pehle. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 25

26 Public Person: Aise kal ko humko bhi utha kar band kar denge ke apki gaadi me yeh nahin hai... apne usko mara hai ya kuch bhi kar diya hai... Aam aadmi ki kya surakha hai... Kuch bhi nahi hai, Hum toh unke hathon me kathputliyon ki tarah ghoom rahe hain... Jab marzi band kar deh humare hath me revolver den den. Drug humari jeb me dal denge to hum to ho gaye. We are not happy at all... Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff has argued that the above portion is highly objectionable as it discredits the entire Institution of Police and encourages/ spreads dissatisfaction against the Institution of Police. Victim's brother: Yeh to court to decide karna hai ki unko kya saza deni chahiye par unko saza aisi milni chahiye taki dobara koin bhi aadmi apni duty jo law enforcement agency hai agar vo hi is tarah ke kam karega to aam citizen ke liye kya hoga... To aisa ek precedent Government/ Court to banana chahiye taki koi bhi dobara is tarah ki negligence yah is type ka koi kam kare to usko sochne se pehle uske rongte khade ho jayen ki agar mai aisa karunga to mere liye bhi koi kanoon hai... (Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff has objected to the above portion as the guilt of the plaintiff was declared at the time when this matter was subjudice and even the charges were not settled). Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 26

27 In the end, details of a wanted criminal Gurdeep Singh has been shown... India's Most Wanted ko bhi iski jaankari dena na bhulen... (19) Towards the end the details of the persons associated with the docudrama are exhibited, which clearly indicate the capacity in which one of the defendants i.e. Sohaib Ilyasi has been associated. Produced by: Vinod Nayyar and Suhaib A. Ilyasi Concept & Direction: Suhaib A. Ilyasi Script: Suhaib A. Ilyasi and Tehseen Munaver Associate Producers: Kuldeep Nayyar and Anju S. Ilyasi Hostess: Anju S. Ilyasi Voice over/ Commentary:Babla Kochar Editor: K. Prakash Verma Research coordinator: Vikram Kapoor Raga Production Private Limited (20) It is also necessary for me to note that during trial it stood established that the above incident was a pure case of mistaken identity. The evidence lead before the Ld. Trial Court confirmed that authentic information about Mohd. Yaseen a desperate/ hardcore wanted criminal of UP was received by Inspector Anil Kumar and this fact was also confirmed during trial by Mohd. Yaseen himself was examined by the prosecution as PW70. In fact Mohd. Yaseen confirmed that on the fateful day he was using a mobile phone bearing No and had come Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 27

28 to Delhi in a Blue Maruti car of UP number and was to meet one Hafiz at Patparganj Mother Dairy at 1:00 1:30 PM where he had in fact gone and met Hafiz at Patparganj Mother Dairy and then returned. It was an unfortunate fatal coincidence that even the deceased Pradeep Goel and Jagjit Singh had come to the Mother Dairy Patparganj at the same time in a blue colour Maruti car of UP number and Jagjit Singh had strong resemblance with Mohd. Yaseen. It is in this background that instead of following Mohd. Yaseen the police party instead followed the vehicle of the deceased mistakenly and mistook all these young men to be desperate criminals from UP. OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS: (21) I have heard the arguments advanced before me by the Ld. Counsels for both the parties and the written memorandum of arguments filed by them. I have also gone through the testimonies of the various witnesses and the material on record. My findings on the various issues are as under: Issue No.1: Whether on account of producing and airing serial Docudrama on the Connaught Place Shoot Out case, the defendants are not liable to pay damages to the plaintiff for defamation and for causing loss and hurt to the personal and professional reputation and good name of the plaintiff? (OPP) Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 28

29 Issue No.2: Whether the defendants are thereby liable to be injuncted permanently from airing or telecasing the episode Docudrama on the Connaught Place shoot out case? (OPP) (22) Both the issues are clubbed together the sake of convenience involving common discussion and being interlinked. Onus of proving both the issues was upon the plaintiff. (23) In order to discharge the onus upon them, the plaintiff no.1 Anil Kumar has examined himself as PW1 and the plaintiff no.2 Mahender Singh has examined himself as PW2, whereas on the other hand the defendants no.2 to 4 have examined one Rajesh Choudhary, Manager (Legal) as DW1. (24) Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff has placed his reliance on the testimonies of the various witnesses examined by the plaintiff and has vehemently argued that the airing of the telecase of the doccdrama of the CP shootout Case under the title India s Most Wanted by Zee Television has hurt/ damage/ malign/ defame not only the reputation of plaintiff but the entire family. It is argued that the telecast has created a dent in the reputation of the entire family and humanism is paralyzed and the family has to suffer a lot. It is also pleaded that when the incident happened everybody thought that it happened in the discharge of color of duty but after the telecast was aired on T.V. the attitude/behavior of the friends, relatives and the public perception was totally changed and everybody Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 29

30 thought that the incident was not occurred in the discharge of color of duty rather they have killed innocent persons. It is further argued that even the behavior and the well wishers of the police force were drastically changed and the plaintiff was projected/ branded as a villain/ killer/ criminal. It is also argued that the sacrifice done by the Plaintiff for this country was forgotten and the family has to suffer humiliation for no fault of them. It is submitted that the telecast declared the Plaintiff guilty and the life of the plaintiff and the family were made miserable, painful and dejected. It is also argued that the glory/ prestige/ honor/ recognition which the Plaintiff achieved after a sheer hard work, zeal and devotion to the duty got vanished and the journey of suffering for the family is not over and is continue. Ld. Counsel for the plaintiff has further argued that the image/ identity of the Plaintiff is disgrace, ruin and blemish. He has placed his reliance on Article 21 of the Constitution of India which provides that No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. It is argued that the fundamental rights and the human rights of the entire family have been violated for no fault of them and they are part of the constitutional rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is argued that right to life is the most fundamental of all human rights, and any decision affecting human life, or which may put an individual s life at risk, must call for the most anxious scrutiny. Ld. Counsel has further argued that the sanctity of human life is probably the most fundamental of the human Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 30

31 social values and the reputation of the Plaintiff and his entire family are an important part. It is also argued that one has the right to have and preserve his reputation and also to protect it and fair trial is also a part of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Ld. Counsel has argued that it is a well settled law that everybody is presumed to be innocent until proved guilty and has pointed out that the plaintiff was facing trial and the matter was sub judice when the docudrama of the CP Shootout Case was aired on and re telecast on He has placed his reliance on the 200 th Report of the Law Commission of India and authorities in the case State of Maharashtra Vs. Rajendra Jawanmal Gandhi reported in SCC 386; Umesh Kumar Vs. State of A.P. reported in 2013 (10) SCC 591; Omprakash Chautala Vs. Kanwar Bhan & Ors. reported in 2014 (5) SCC 417; Mehmood Nayyar Azam Vs. State of Chattisgarh & Ors. reported in SCC 1; R.K. Anand Vs. Delhi High Court reported in 2009 (8) SCC 106. (25) The defence of the defendants is that the two episodes of the said serial were properly known in the print and electronic media as C.P. Shootout case and after the incident of Shoot out on , every newspaper and television media had carried the news in detail with the photographs of all the persons/ police officials involved in the Raiding party and that this went upto the date when the FIR dated was registered by the police and even after they were taken into police custody, Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 31

32 some time in July, Therefore, whatever harm was caused to reputation of the plaintiff had already taken place much prior to the airing of the said episodes of the said serial in question and the airing of the said two episodes in March, 1998 was only re capitulation of widely publicised news and had nothing to do with the maligning or defaming the reputation or image of the plaintiff, who was already by then charge sheeted by the police and appearing before the Court of Law. (26) Sh. Bakshi Sri Rang Singh Advocate for the defendants has vehemently argued that on the basis of the FIR registered, case against the plaintiff along with other members of the raiding party, all the accused persons named in the FIR initially were sentenced by the Ld. Sessions Judge, the appeal of the plaintiff and other members of the raiding party was dismissed by the Honorable High Court of Delhi on and the Honorable Supreme Court of India on dismissed all the criminal appeals being appeal Nos.2231, 2476, and 2484 of 2009, however, the trial, in all the three aforesaid cases continued. He has also placed his reliance on the cross examination of the plaintiff. It is argued that the witness of the defendant Sh. Rajesh Choudhary (DW1) has duly supported the written statement filed by the defendants. It is also argued that in order to establish defamation the complainant/ must prove firstly that the act of defamation has exposed the plaintiff to hatred, contempt, ridicule; secondly that it tend to injure him in his profession or trade and thirdly to cause him to be shunned or avoided by his neighbours Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 32

33 etc. He has argued that the plaintiff has failed to establish the required ingredients which are necessary to be proved before anybody is found guilty of having caused disrepute by such a defamation. It is also argued that the defendant company has only portrayed the true and correct facts and has not in any manner harmed the reputation of the plaintiff and the re enactment of the C.P. Shoot out incident was nothing new and the same has turned out to be substantial proved/ correct. It is further argued that the Channel being a new Channel, such programmes are informative in nature and are protected under Article 19 rule 1(a) of the Constitution of India and it was simply, a dramatization/ recap of widely published news which had occurred almost one year prior to filing of the suit. He has also placed his reliance on the following cases: 1. Essel Infraprojects Limited Vs. Devendra Prakash Mishra, reported in 2015 (1) Bom CR R. Rajagopal alias R.R Gopal & Another Vs. State of Tamil Nadu & Others, reported in 1994 (6) SCC Ram Jethmalani Vs. Subramanium Swamy, reported in 2006 (87) DRJ Jawaharlal Darda vs Manohar Rao Ganpatrao Kapiskar reported in AIR 1998 SC Sidhartha Manu Sharma Vs. State (NCT of Delhi) reported in (2010) 6 SCC 1 6. Saint Shri Asharam Bapu v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors., reported in (2013) 10 SCC 37. Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 33

34 (27) Before coming to the merits of the grounds raised before me, it is necessary to briefly deal with the existing legal position relating to the Rights of the parties before this Court and actionable wrong if any. (28) Coming first to the arguments of the Ld. Counsel plaintiff that by telecast of the docudrama, the reputation of the plaintiff which is an inseparable facet of life has been violated, the act of the defendants thereby infringing upon the Fundamental Right of the plaintiff. The first question which now arises for determination is whether Right to Reputation is a Fundamental Right under the Constitution of India or not? In this regard, I may observe that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 recognized the right to have opinions and the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 has been recognized to be the subject to the right of reputation of others. (29) Reputation, it is said, is not only a salt of life but the purest treasure and the most precious perfume of life. The observations made in the case of D.F. Marion Vs. Minnie Davis are important in this regard and I quote as under:... The right to enjoyment of a private reputation, unassailed by malicious slander is of an ancient origin, and is necessary to human society. A good reputation is an element of personal security, and is protected by the Constitution equally with the right to the enjoyment of life, liberty and property... Anil Kumar Vs. M/S. I Sky B & Ors, CS No. 323/13 Page No. 34

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