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Radia seeks stay on film

New Delhi, March 24 (PTI): Delhi High Court today issued a notice to a film producer on a plea from corporate lobbyist Niira Radia against the movie’s release on the ground that it depicts her private life in a “scandalous” manner.

Kush Bhargava, a Lucknow-based Congress leader, is the producer of Monica — The Politics of Murder, which stars Ashutosh Rana and includes Yashpal Sharma and Kittu Gidwani in the cast. It is scheduled to be released tomorrow.

“Issue notice to the respondent (Bhargava) asking him to file a copy of the script of the film or a CD by the next date of hearing,” Justice V.K. Jain said.

Radia, who has been in the news after the leak of her tapped conversations with corporate heads, journalists and political leaders, has sought a “permanent injunction” against the film’s release.

Anip Sachthey, the lawyer for Radia, who is a director of Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Private Ltd, said: “The plaintiff (Radia) has not assigned anyone the right to make a film based on her life or any film showing the life of the petitioner, however minuscule.”

He added: “The production of the film in such a brazen manner and public viewing of such film will tarnish or damage her image and reputation beyond repair which cannot be compensated.”

The lawyer cited a news report that said Bhargava’s film was based on the telecom scandal and that Divya Dutta, the protagonist, carried shades of Radia and Shivani Bhatnagar, a journalist murdered in 1999.

Justice Jain said during the hearing: “After all, it is the censor board which has given it a certificate after viewing it.” Sachthey then argued that Radia was not a public figure and that her right to privacy superseded the right to freedom of speech and expression.

“If you speak to public figures and discuss matters which relate to the affairs of the state, then you cannot claim that such things, if communicated, violate your right to privacy,” Justice Jain said.

Radia’s counsel then cited how the courts had watched a film based on the life of slain bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi to ensure that her rights were not violated.

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