The Bombay High Court has issued a notice to Bollywood actor Salman Khan, seeking his reply on self-proclaimed film critic Kamaal R Khan’s plea urging for quashing a lower court’s interim order restraining him from making any comments on the actor, his movies, or his companies.
Kamaal Khan in his plea said a film viewer cannot be prohibited from making comments about a film or its characters.
He further said the lower court should not have passed such a blanket order, and while the court could restrain him from making personal comments against Salman Khan, it could not prohibit fair criticism of the latter’s movies.
On Thursday, a single bench presided over by Justice A S Gadkari issued notices to Salman Khan, his production company Salman Khan Ventures, and several social media intermediaries seeking their response to Kamaal Khan’s plea.
Kamaal Khan has challenged a Mumbai court’s interim order issued in June this year on a defamation suit filed by Salman Khan against the former over his comments on the film Radhe and some of his other videos and commentary.
The court at that time restrained Kamaal Khan from posting or publishing any defamatory content about Salman Khan, his business ventures and/or films, his family members, until the final order in the defamation case.
However, in his appeal filed in the HC filed through advocate Manoj Gadkari, Kamaal Khan claimed the lower court’s interim order is no less than a “gag order”.
He said he is a film critic and had fairly criticised the film Radhe in which Salman Khan, “who is a 55-year-old, was acting like a teenager”.
The petitioner also claimed the lower court’s injunction was breaching his fundamental right to practice his trade — that of a film critic, and thus, preventing him from earning his rightful livelihood.
He said in his appeal that he had not made any comments or posted videos and tweets with the intention of defaming Salman Khan or his films.
“The lower court should not have failed to keep in mind that a viewer of a film cannot be stopped from making any comments on the film or the characters in the film, or whether the actors in the film are hit or flop,” he said in his petition.
He also claimed in his appeal that the lower court had committed a “gross error” in passing the injunction order, and that such order was “illegal”.
The counsels for Salman Khan and some other respondents told the HC that they received the copies of Kamaal Khan’s appeal late Wednesday night, and sought time to take instructions from their clients.
The HC will hear the plea further after two weeks.