The Bombay High Court vide order dated September 17, 2018 refused to attach the negatives of the film ‘Sholay’ in an execution application filed by Shree Navchitra Distributors Pvt Ltd in a suit against Sippy Films. [Read order here]
The Plaintiff had filed a money claim for Rs. 10 lakhs with interest and other reliefs, in Jaipur in 2004. The suit was decreed it in 2005. The Plaintiff filed an Execution Application in 2006 and sought to attach the negatives of the film ‘Sholay’ on the basis that it was an asset of one or more of the four Defendants.
While hearing a Chamber Summons filed by Shee Navchitra Distributors Pvt Ltd, Justice GS Patel noted that this claim was incorrect as there was a gift deed dated September 14, 2000 by which Sippy films gifted all rights over the film Sholay to Sholay Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd (SMEPL), which is a separate legal entity. Justice Patel observed “This Gift Deed and the consequent transfer of all rights in the film were, therefore, as much as four years before the institution of the suit itself. There was no claim to the film Sholay in specie. It is only sought to be attached in execution,”. Justice Patel asserted that the rights of the said film did not belong to the defendant even before the suit was filed. He observed “I do not see how the Decree Holder can possibly proceed against this particular film. It was never an asset of any of the Judgment Debtors/Defendants from even before the date of institution of the suit. It is an asset vested in an outsider, SMEPL. There is no attempt to proceed against SMEPL as a garnishee.” The court also noted that other contentions regarding other assets of the defendant will remain open but the chamber summons by SMEPL will have to be allowed.
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