New Delhi, May 22: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) based on a defamation suit moved by a Gujarat-based non-government organisation (NGO). The suit claims that BBC has released a two-episode news documentary titled "India: The Modi Question".

The two episodes are stated to have been published in January 2023. It is contended that the said documentary/publication contains content which casts a slur on the reputation of the country and also makes false and defamatory imputations and insinuations against the Prime Minister of India, the Indian Judiciary and the Indian criminal justice system. BBC Documentary on PM Narendra Modi: JNU Snaps Power, Internet Supply; No Screening of 'India: The Modi Question'.

"It is averred that the aforesaid conduct of the respondents is actionable and has made them liable to damages, as claimed in the suit," noted the court after going through the suit. BBC Documentary On PM Narendra Modi: TMC MP Derek O'Brien Says Twitter Deletes His Post on Documentary Critical of PM.

The bench of Justice Sachin Dutta on Monday issued notice to respondent BBC and said, "Issue notice to the respondents through all permissible modes, returnable on 25.09.2023"

Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared for the plaintiff organisation and submitted that the documentary has defamed India and the judiciary also.

Recently Delhi's Rohini court had also issued summons to the BBC, the Wikimedia Foundation and Internet Archive on a plea seeking a direction restraining the defendants from publishing the BBC documentary based on PM Modi.

The petitioner Binay Kumar Singh has petitioned the Rohini district court to pass an order restraining the Defendants restraining them including their agents, etc. to cease the publishing of the two-volume documentary series "India: The Modi Question" or any other defamatory material pertaining to the Plaintiff, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on the platforms of Wikimedia and Internet Archive or any other online or offline platforms.

He has also sought to pass a direction to the defendants ordering them to tender an unconditional apology to the Plaintiff as well as to RSS and VHP for the libellous and defamatory content published in the two-volume documentary series.

It is said that in the month of January 2023, BBC aired the two-volume documentary series "India: The Modi Question". It is submitted that through the said documentary, BBC claims that there are rising tensions between India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country's Muslim minority; there is an alarming rise of hate crimes and extreme politics in India, particularly targeting the Muslim community.

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