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Delhi HC Grants Interim Restraining Order Protecting Personality Rights of Amitabh Bachchan from Infringement

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Savvy Thakur

Published on: 25 November 2022 at 07:28 IST

The Delhi High Court issued an interim order prohibiting the general public from violating his personality and publicity rights.

“It cannot seriously be disputed that the plaintiff is a well-known personality and is also represented in various advertisements,” Justice Navin Chawla wrote in his order.

The plaintiff feels cheated because the defendants used his fame to promote their own products and services without his permission. After reviewing the complaint, I believe there is a prima facie case, and the convenience factor also works in his favor.

In addition, the judge noted that if the order is not granted, Bachchan is likely to suffer irreparable loss and harm, and that some of the activities may even bring him into disrepute. Further, the Court issued instructions regarding the suit’s prayers to the authorities and telecom service providers.

Anand and Naik filed the lawsuit.

The veteran Bollywood actor’s reasons for filing the suit were the focus of Salve’s opening argument in front of the court.

“All India sim card WhatsApp lucky draw. Lucky draw holder name — Amitabh Bachchan and Mukesh Ambani,” he told the Court, citing one of the advertisements that were using Bachchan’s name. He added that complaints were made that such lottery advertisement were scams.

Senior Advocate cited different example before the Court stating the instance when the celeb face his on t-shirts that are being made by someone else. He argued that:

“Somebody is selling his banner. Somebody has proceeded to enlist a space name, amitabhbachchan.com. This is the reason we have come…” Bachchan filed his plea before the High Court for an all-encompassing order protecting his name, image, voice, or any of his characteristics without his permission.

According to the lawsuit, mobile app developers were illegally associating with Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), a show hosted by the veteran actor, in order to use Bachchan’s name, image, and voice for lottery purposes.

He has also sought a restraining order against a number of businesses, including T-shirt sellers, book publishers, and others.

According to Bachchan, no one else can use his personality, name, voice, image, likeness, or any other characteristics that are uniquely identifiable and associated with him for commercial purposes without his express permission or consent.

It has been argued that Bachchan has, over the course of many years, developed a personal brand in which the general public associates both “trust” and “quality” with him and each brand that he endorses.

The Court was informed, however, that the defendants are operating websites and mobile apps by misappropriating the photographs and/or other characteristics of Bachchan in order to garner public acclaim and encourage users to download such mobile apps.

In addition, the suit stated that defendant No. 2—Rana Pratap—had been discovered sending messages via WhatsApp with infringing text about KBC Lotteries and images of the Bollywood actor attached.

“The Defendant No.3 is a publisher, Manoj Publications, which has been found commercially dealing in a General Knowledge quiz book on various e-commerce platforms for aspirants who wish to participate in the television quiz show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (a popular TV show hosted by the Plaintiff),” was another example of such infringement.

The fourth defendant is a company called “Swag Shirts,” and its website, https://www.swagshirts99.com/, shows that it sells T-shirts with prominently displayed photographs of the Plaintiff on them.

The plea also gave the story of a poster seller in Gwalior who was found to be selling wall posters with pictures and likenesses of Bachchan.

As a result, Bachchan sought a John Doe order against these individuals and others who are infringing on his image rights.

Additionally, he sought an interim injunction prohibiting four of the defendants from assigning, transferring, or creating any third-party rights to the domain names amitabhbachchan.com and amitabhbachchan.in.

A directive to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Department of Telecommunications to require internet service providers to remove a list of links and websites that illegally infringe on Bachchan’s personality and publicity rights is also prayed for.

Last but not least, the veteran actor has requested a court order requiring telecommunications service providers to block access to all phone numbers used by the defendants to send messages via messaging apps like WhatsApp, which violates his rights.