Novelist Chetan Bhagat on Friday told Delhi High Court that he will change the objectionable words allegedly used in his bestselling novel ‘Half Girlfriend’ which had portrayed a royal family from Bihar as alcoholics and gamblers.
A bench of Justice Jayant Nath was informed through the author’s lawyer that Bhagat will change the words from his book and he has already changed the setting of the book from princely state of Dumraon, which exists, to a fictional place called Simraon, in the Hindi version.
The counsel also said that Bhagat was willing to change the same in his English and Gujarati versions of the novel.
Bhagat’s counsel submission was opposed by Chandra Vijay Singh’s lawyer Avneesh Garg, who sought a permanent injunction restraining the author, Rupa Publications and all others from further publication, sale and circulation of ‘Half Girlfriend’ in its present form “with immediate effect”.
Garg said the novel was first published in October 2014 and since than many copies have been sold.
Chandra Vijay has filed the suit in the high court within days of Bhagat changing the setting in the Hindi version of ‘Half Girlfriend’.
A descendant of the erstwhile princely state of Dumraon in Bihar has also sought Rs one crore as damages from Bhagat.
The suit was filed alleging that “express and implied references” that were “false and derogatory in nature” was made against Chandra Vijay’s family in Bhagat’s book.
The court on April 13 had sought the author and Rupa Publication’s response.
The oral submission from the author and publication was made in backdrop of the court’s earlier direction.
Chandra Vijay is the eldest son of Maharaja Bahadur Kamal Singh, a two-term Lok Sabha MP and the last ruler of Dumraon before its accession to the Indian union in 1952.
The petition said the Dumraon royals were firm that they will not accept anything short of a full retraction of the original novel in English and an apology from Bhagat and the publishers.
It said Bhagat had been given every chance to make amends and to repair the damage caused to his family’s reputation but the author had not taken the family’s concerns seriously.