Practicing Advocate of the Delhi High Court, Mohit Singh has served a legal notice of defamation on the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group, for "demeaning" the tragic loss of Indian Cinema artist, Sushant Singh Rajput.
On June 14, 2020, the Aaj Tak news channel of the India Today Group flashed a Headline, allegedly comparing the death of the actor with a "hit-wicket" during a cricket match.
"By this comment, Aaj Tak has insinuated that the death of Mr. Sushant by suicide, is equivalent to that of a batsman in cricket who breaks his own wicket with his bat or any part of his person while playing the ball or setting off for a run. The careless use of such language portrays that the news channel, Aaj Tak, with its high viewership, has shed its responsibility towards the Indian masses," the notice reads.
As per Singh, post-mortem of the actor's body is pending and the cause of his death is not yet clear. In such circumstances, the news telecasted by the channel is speculative, uncorroborated and "casts aspersions" on the actor's integrity.
In addition to negligently commenting on an event of a critical nature, Singh said, the news channel has also "normalized" the act of suicide.
"The words used, carry the imputation that the act of committing suicide is an act of cowardice and is one to be looked down upon. Such doings of public platforms, especially one which has a high viewership, has the power of causing boundless pain to a large chunk of the Indian society," the notice stated.
Such acts of the news channel allegedly constitute the offence of Defamation punishable under Section 500 IPC.
Singh has asked the news channel to retract its statement and issue an unconditional apology "for promoting and spreading misinformation about the mental health issues", failing which he will take apposite legal action against the India Today Group.
"By this Legal Notice, you are hereby required to retract the abovementioned statement, as well as any other statement of the similar nature published/displayed on your channel, and issue an unconditional public apology, for your vexatious act. The said apology should include that you take full responsibility of the mistake committed by your channel and that the news of suicide is a mere comment by the police and that the post-mortem report is awaited," the notice says.
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