High Court refuses to direct Luviena Lodh to remove the offending video from her Instagram account
Actress Luviena Lodh assured the Bombay high court that she will not make any defamatory and scandalous statement about film director Mahesh Bhatt and his producer brother Mukesh Bhatt but she will state the fact what she has witnessed.
Advocate Prashant Pandey, who represented the actress, made the statement while responding to a defamation suit filed by Bhatt Brothers, seeking damages of Rs. 1 crore from the actress.
Senior advocate VR Dhond, who appeared for Bhatt brothers, mentioned an interim application filed in the suit for urgent hearing on Monday (October 26) afternoon and pressed for urgent interim injunction against Lodh saying the actor was about to take a press conference and Bhatt brothers apprehended that she will reiterate the defamatory allegations.
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Justice AK Menon, however, refused to accept the request. “How can I restrain somebody from holding a press conference. How can you gag somebody like this,” asked justice Menon.
Dhond, however, insisted for an interim order. The senior advocate pointed out the cause of action – a video of Lodh’s interview uploaded on Instagram on October 23, in which she has levelled serious allegations against both, Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt.
Dhond pointed out that in the video the actress had alleged that her husband, a close relative of Bhatts, was in the business of supplying drugs and women in Bollywood circles, and Mahesh Bhatt was aware of all this. Dhond said, in the video the actress goes on alleging that Bhatt is the biggest Don, he controls the entire system and has ruined lives of several persons in Bollywood etc.
Refuting that Lodh’s husband was not related to Bhatts, Dhond submitted that the Bhatts were unnecessarily dragged in the actress’ matrimonial dispute with her husband. He asserted that the allegations were per se defamatory and therefore Lodh was required to be restrained from making any such statements.
Advocate Pandey opposed the request, by pointing out that the purportedly defamatory statements are directed against the actress’ husband, and the Bhatts are mentioned only to the effect that they were knowing her husband’s activities. He added that Lodh had filed a domestic violence complaint against her husband and she was willing to justify and make good the allegations.
Justice Menon, however, noted that even the actress did not intend to defame Bhatt brothers and directed her from making any defamatory and scandalous allegations against them and also from further circulating the video uploaded on Instagram.
HC, however, refused to direct Lodh to remove the offending video from her Instagram account, so that it is not further circulated some other person, after Pandey strenuously opposed the prayer. In this Pandey had complained that he was given notice about the urgent hearing on the plea just a few minutes back and interim orders could not be passed by a court without granting the actress opportunity to respond to the interim application.
HC has now directed Lodh to file an affidavit in reply to the suit and the interim application in four weeks. The court has granted two weeks thereafter to Bhatt brothers to file their rejoinder to her affidavits.