Guwahati: Mohit Singh, a practicing advocate at the Delhi High Court, on Tuesday served a legal notice of defamation to the India Today Group’s chairman and editor-in-chief for their network’s “insensitive coverage” of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
The 34-year-old actor died on Sunday, June 14, allegedly by suicide at his home in Bandra, Mumbai. He was known for his exceptional portrayal of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story.
After news of Rajput’s death broke on Sunday, the network’s Hindi news channel Aaj Tak flashed a bulletin which read, “Aise kaise ‘hit wicket’ ho gaye Sushant?” (Rough translation: “How could Sushant get hit-wicket like this?” – comparing his death to a hit-wicket in cricket.)
In his notice to the media group, Singh says, Aaj Tak has insinuated the death of the actor by suicide is equivalent to that of a batsman in cricket. “One who breaks his own wicket with his bat or any part of his person while setting off for a run or playing the ball.”
Many media houses and news channels received widespread backlash from fans and the film and television fraternity for insensitive coverage. Graphic images of the actor’s corpse were televised and shared on various social media platforms as well.
This even prompted the Maharashtra Police’s Cyber cell to jump into action and issue a stern warning.
While Aaj Tak turned coverage of the tragic incident into a soap opera, a Zee News headline read, “Patna ka Sushant Mumbai mein fail kyu?” (Rough translation: “Why did Patna’s Sushant fail in Mumbai?”)
Referring to Aaj Tak‘s ‘hit-wicket’ analogy, Singh’s defemation suit says that use of such words seems to suggest that suicide is nothing but an act of cowardice and needs to be looked down upon.
“Using phrases like hit-wicket further normalises the gravity of the situation as well. These acts by the news organisation allegedly fall under the offense of Defamation which is punishable under Section 500 IPC.”
Advocate Singh has demanded the news channel to retract its statement and issue an unconditional apology.