BBC Summoned by Delhi High Court Over New Defamation Case

The complainant is a Gujarat-based NGO who alleged that the BBC's documentary titled 'India: The Modi Question' "casts a slur" on India's reputation.

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday, May 21 issued a summons to the BBC after it heard a defamation case filed against it alleging that its documentary India: The Modi Question cast a slur on India’s reputation.

LiveLaw reported that the case was filed by a Gujarat-based NGO named Justice on Trial, which was represented in the court by Senior Advocate Harish Salve.

“It is contended that the documentary makes [a] defamatory imputation and [casts a] slur on reputation of the country and the judiciary and against the Prime Minister. Issue notice to the respondents,” Justice Sachin Datta said during the hearing.

The court listed the case for further hearing on September 15, The Telegraph reported.

BBC aired The Modi Question in the UK in January this year. The documentary is critical of Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, when he was chief minister of that state.

The Indian government called the documentary “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage”. Its income tax department raided the BBC’s offices in Delhi and Mumbai in February, a move that was decried as an attempt to curb press freedom in the country.

On May 26, the Rohini District Court, also in Delhi, will hear arguments for a different defamation case that was filed against the BBC by Bharatiya Janata Party member Binay Kumar Singh. He alleged that The Modi Question defamed the BJP and sought action restraining the BBC from broadcasting the documentary on its platforms, The Hindu reported.