Bachchan, the poster-boy of Indian cinema to the world for nearly half a
century, filed a petition in the Delhi High Court to protect his personality
rights. The Delhi High Court issued an order on Friday, November 25, restraining
people at large from infringing the personality and publicity rights of the
actor [Amitabh Bachchan v. Rajat Nagi & Ors.].

Passing his
order, Justice Navin Chawla stated: “It cannot be seriously disputed that the
plaintiff (Amitabh Bachchan) is a well-known personality and is also
represented in various advertisements. The plaintiff is aggrieved by the
defendants use of his celebrity status to promote their own goods and services
without his permission or authorization.”

 “Having considered the plaint, I am of the
opinion that a prima facie case is made out and balance of convenience also
lies in his favour.”

Chawla noted that Amitabh Bachchan is likely to suffer irreparable loss and
harm, and that some of the activities may even bring his disrepute, if such an
order is not passed.

What are
personality rights?

rights, also called right of publicity, are rights an individual possesses to
control the commercial use of their identity, such as name, image, likeness, or
other unequivocal identifies. Personality rights are generally considered
property rights and not personal rights. Therefore, personality rights may
survive the death of the individual in question to varying degrees, depending
on jurisdiction.

Amitabh Bachchan went to court over his personality rights?

Salve, Amitabh Bachchan’s lawyer and former Solicitor General of India, told
the court that Amitabh Bachchan’s name was being used by other parties
(defendants) to profit without his authorisation.

his argument, Salve, who represented India at the International Court of
Justice at the Hague in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, provided examples: “All
India sim card WhatsApp lucky draw. Lucky draw holder name – Amitabh Bachchan
and Mukesh Ambani,” he cited to the court one of the advertisements that were
using Bachchan’s name.

Salve added
complaints had been made that such lottery advertisement were scams.

He further
said that there were people making t-shirts with Amitabh Bachchan’s picture on
them and there are others selling his posters. There is also someone who has
registered a domain name,

through the lawsuit, sought an omnibus order in the form of a John Doe order
against persons violating or infringing his rights.

He also
sought an interim injunction restraining four of the defendants from transferring,
alienating or creating any third-party rights in respect of the domain names and

the veteran actor prayed to the Department of Telecommunications and the Union
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to require internet service
providers to remove a list of links and websites that unlawfully infringe upon
Bachchan’s personality and publicity rights.