PM Modi Documentary Row: Delhi Court Issues Fresh Summons to BBC at UK Address


Delhi’s Rohini court has issued fresh summons to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) at its UK address regarding the contentious documentary series “India: The Modi Question.” The previous summons remained unserved.

The Judge

Additional District Judge (ADJ) Ruchika Singla issued the summons to BBC at its UK address, scheduling the matter for further hearing on August 27, 2024.

Earlier, in July 2023, the summons was issued as per the Hague Convention. The court noted that the Wikimedia Foundation and Internet Archive received the summons.

The counsel for the plaintiff submitted the tracking report indicating that the summons had been served upon ABC Legal Service on March 23, 2024. The court is hearing a plea seeking a direction to restrain the publishing of the BBC Documentary based on PM Narendra Modi.


The counsel for BBC had previously contended that BBC is a foreign entity and service should be in accordance with the Hague Convention.

The Counsel also highlighted that the plaintiff had used different emails of entities based in the UK. The defendants Wikimedia Foundation and Internet Archive had echoed the arguments of BBC’s counsel.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Wikimedia Foundation had raised jurisdictional concerns before the Court. They also submitted that they had not been served properly as per the Hague Convention due to their status as foreign entities.

On May 3, the Court issued summons to these three organizations upon a plea filed by Binay Kumar Singh. The counsels for BBC and Wikimedia Foundation had appeared in protest, stating that they had not been served properly. They also refused to accept the copy of the plea in court.

The Counsels emphasized that they were appearing under protest as they had not been served properly, considering BBC and Wikimedia as foreign entities. They also submitted that this court lacked jurisdiction to try the present matter.

The Counsel for BBC stated that she had not received the copies as the service had not been properly effected upon BBC. The petitioner had filed a plea through social media lawyer Advocate Mukesh Sharma.


The petitioner Binay Kumar Singh prayed to the court to issue an order restraining the defendants, including their agents, to cease the publishing of the two-volume documentary series “India: The Modi Question” or any other defamatory material concerning the plaintiff, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), on the platforms of Wikimedia and Internet Archive or any other online or offline platforms.

He also sought a direction to the defendants to tender an unconditional apology to the plaintiff, RSS, and VHP for the libelous and defamatory content published in the two-volume documentary series.

The petitioner further sought damages of Rs 10 lakh from the defendants for alleged defamation caused by the documentary due to his association with RSS, VHP, and BJP. It was alleged that in January 2023, BBC aired the two-volume documentary series “India: The Modi Question.”

It was claimed through the documentary that there were escalating tensions between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country’s Muslim minority, along with an alarming rise in hate crimes and extreme politics targeting the Muslim community in India.

It was further stated that there was a dangerous call for violence to establish India as a Hindu Nation, including allegations of widespread and systematic rape of Muslim women to purge Muslims from Hindu areas.


Additionally, numerous accusations were made against BJP, RSS, and VHP, alleging that at least 2,000 people were murdered during violence, with the majority being Muslim, and the violence was organized by extremist Hindu nationalist groups, the plea detailed.

The plea also alleged that BBC strategically disseminated unfounded rumors without verifying the claims’ authenticity. Furthermore, the accusations fostered animosity between multiple faith communities, particularly Hindus and Muslims.

Therefore, considering these factors, the central government during January 2023, in bona fide, blocked the two-volume documentary using its emergency powers under the law of the land, the petitioner asserted.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte