A Mumbai court has dismissed a plea filed by Raymond Group Chairman and Managing Director Gautam Singhania seeking an injunction on his father Vijaypat Singhania’s proposed autobiography, “The Incomplete Man”.
City civil judge SP Ponkshe, in her order passed on January 3, noted that Gautam Singhania had failed to prima facie show that the book contained defamatory statements and imputations about him or his family members.
Gautam Singhania had filed the suit in September 2018 seeking an injunction on the proposed book and also sought a copy of the book’s manuscript.
He claimed the book contained defamatory statements which would cause damage to his reputation.
The court, however, noted that there was no prima facie case to believe and accept Gautam Singhania’s apprehensions on the contents of the proposed book.
It noted that he had not supported his case with cogent evidence.
The court said there is a difference between a biography and an autobiography.
Biography means an account of series of events making a person’s life, while an autobiography means a biography of yourself, it pointed out.
“In this case, defendant no. 4 (Vijaypat Singhania) has specifically stated that the proposed book is his autobiography. That means, on his own experiences he is going to write the autobiography. Hence, the information is definitely not based on hearsay,” the court said.
“Therefore, I have no hesitation to hold that the plaintiff (Gautam Singhania) has failed to establish prima facie infringement of right to privacy and alleged defamation due to publication of the autobiography of Vijaypath Singhania,” the judge said.
The court further held that if the application seeking injunction against the book is allowed, irreparable loss would be caused to Vijaypat Singhania, considering the nature of the proposed book and twilight years of his life.
It noted that prima facie there was no sufficient evidence to believe and accept that the proposed book contains defamatory statements and imputations causing infringement of right to privacy of Gautam Singhania and his family members.
The court also took note of the arguments put forth by the publisher, Penguin Random House India Pvt. Ltd., that it shall adhere to stringent due diligence processes before going ahead with the book’s publication.
Vijaypat Singhania, while opposing his son’s application, said his book contains only the truth.
He and his son have been engaged in a legal battle over a duplex apartment in the 36-storey redeveloped JK House in south Mumbai.
In a petition filed in the Bombay High Court in 2016, Vijaypat Singhania had claimed that his son was refusing to honour an arbitration order which awarded the duplex apartment to the former.