Right to publicity has been recognised as an integral part of right to privacy as it is considered as the property of a person.[1] The right of publicity has been extensively used by celebrities as it has often been seen people using their name, photograph and voice in order to increase the growth and publicity of business. In the Hon’ble Supreme Court case of 2017[2] it was said that the personality rights have been derived from the common law principles such as tort of passing off. This judgment assessed the status of rights in relation to constitutional rights, affirming that every person possesses the right to manage their own life and determine how they wish to present themselves to society. This also implies that individuals have the authority to grant or deny permission for their name and attributes to be used publicly.

In order to state a few examples the Hon’ble Court upheld personality rights of various artists such Mr. Amitabh Bacchan and Ms. Jaya Bacchan for an advertisement where their name, image was exploited[3], Mr. Sourav Ganguly in a case where his images were used for promotion of Tata Tea[4], singer Mr. Daler Mehndi when there was unauthorised sale of dolls made using his essential features.[5] Recently, the famous actor Mr. Rajnikanth had sent a public notice to prohibit people from using his name, voice, likeness or other personality traits.[6]


The famous actor Mr. Anil Kapoor recently filed a case seeking for protection of his personality rights. The case was filed in order to safeguard his publicity and personality right, by restraining people from using his name, voice, signature and images without his permission.

[1] ICC Development v. Arvee Enterprises, 2003 SCCOnline Del 2.

[2] Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India, AIR 2017 SC 4161.

[3] Titan Industries Ltd. v. Ramkumar Jewellers, 2012 SCC OnLine Del 2382.

[4] Sourav Ganguly v. Tata Tea Ltd.(Calcutta High Court CS.No 361 of 1997).

[5] D.M Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. v. Baby Gift House and Ors, 2010 SCCOnline Del 4790.

[6] Mohamed Imranullah S. Rajinikanth Issues Public Notice Over Infringement of Rights, The Hindu (Jan 29, 2023) 370.ece/amp/.

The Hon’ble Delhi High Court on Wednesday i.e. 20th September, 2023 passed an interim John Doe Order restraining all social media websites, and other business from using any photograph, voice or any other essential feature presenting his personality.

He sought to restrain various aspects of his personality which included his nicknames like ‘Lakhan’, ‘Mr. India’, ‘Majnu Bhai’ and the most famous phrase ‘Jhakaas’  along with his voice and images.

The case was heard by a single judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh wherein an ex parte interim order was passed against various website and platforms which were alleged of unauthorised exploitation of their personality and celebrity rights.


The right to privacy is a fundamental right recognised by the Constitution. The right to publicity, being a facet of right to privacy does not have any statutory recognition or protection in India. Celebrities, who are most exposed to the infringement of right to privacy and publicity rights do not have any statutory protection of their right. Their personality, image, voice is subject to exploitation. In the era where technology has advanced, there are several GIFs, stickers and derogatory images which affect their right to privacy and publicity.

In order to protect this inherent right, there is a need to provide statutory recognition. This concept has been followed in several countries, and has to be adopted in India in order to protect the fundamental right to privacy.

Author – Ketan Joshi, Senior Associate

Co-Author – Avantika Singh, Intern