‘CHHAPAAK’ CREDITS ROW: FOX STAR STUDIOS AGREES TO ACKNOWLEDGE LAWYER APARNA BHAT’S CONTRIBUTION IN INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF THE FILM
Lawyer Aparna Bhat had filed a contempt petition in the Delhi High Court against the makers of the movie ‘Chhapaak’ for not acknowledging her contribution in the copies screened internationally. The petition was filed after the makers abided by the previous order of the Delhi High Court and acknowledged Bhat’s contribution by adding the line, “Inputs by Ms. Aparna Bhat, the lawyer who represented Laxmi Agarwal are acknowledged” in the copies of the film distributed in Indian theatres.
Fox Star Studios contended that they had misconstrued this order to be only directed towards domestic exhibition of the film, and had in fact not added the line in the copies screened internationally. Pursuant to the clarification, Fox Star Studios has assented to adding the acknowledgment line in overseas screening, as well as donating Rs. 50 lakh for the larger public good.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS ON A HIGHER PEDESTAL THAN REPUTATION: BOMBAY HIGH COURT UPHOLDS SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER’S RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH
A division bench of the Bombay High Court has held that Free Speech takes precedence over Reputation. In an appeal filed by YouTuber Abhijeet Bhansali, who goes by the moniker ‘Bearded Chokra’, the bench comprising of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dang observed that while both freedom of speech and reputation are fundamental rights, the former is put on a higher pedestal than latter.
Earlier this month, a Single judge bench had directed Bhansali to remove his video from YouTube, in which he criticises the Parachute Hair Oil. The learned single judge had observed that social media influencers have a responsibility not to publish harmful or offensive content. The division bench, while acknowledging the role of social media influencers in influencing customers, also recognised that their freedom of speech cannot be stifled in doing so. The matter shall be taken up for hearing on February 5, till which time no action shall be taken against Bhansali to remove the video.
BHARTI SINGH GRANTED RELIEF BY PUNJAB & HARYANA HC IN CASE OF OFFENDING RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS
In December 2019, comedian Bharti Singh, actress Raveena Tandon and filmmaker Farah Khan appeared in a show telecast on a digital platform. In the show, the three were shown trying to pronounce the word “Hallelujah”. An FIR was filed against them alleging that they had trivialised the word, and offended the sentiments of the Christian Community.
On 27 January, the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted relief to comedian Bharti Singh in this matter. The court issued directions to the state to not initiate any coercive actions against the comedian till the pendency of the petition.
The other 2 Bollywood personalities had already been granted relief by the Court earlier this month. The petitions by all 3 personalities will be heard further on March 25.
FATWAS ISSUED TO MALALA BIOPIC DIRECTOR FOR “DISRESPECTING THE QURAN”
Director Amjad Khan has received a fatwa by a Noida based Muslim cleric, alleging that he has disrespected the Holy Quran. Khan’s film Gul Makai is based on the education activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. The poster of the film shows a girl standing in front of an explosion with a book in her hand. The fatwa issued states that the book is in fact the Quran and the poster disrespects the holy book. Stating that this is a huge misunderstanding, and the book is in fact an English book, the filmmaker wished to make known that he has made a film on peace, with no intention of hurting the religious sentiments of any community.
KUNAL KAMRA V. ARNAB GOSWAMI: KAMRA ISSUES LEGAL NOTICE TO INDIGO
Comedian Kunal Kamra was banned by various airlines pursuant to his viral video questioning journalist Arnab Goswami on-board an IndiGo flight. The move was condemned by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Chief Arun Kumar. After the move, even the Pilot-in-Command of the said flight questioned the ban as such a move against an unruly customer may only be taken at the suggestion of the Pilot.
Kamra has now issued a legal notice to IndiGo airlines to revoke the suspension, and also give him a compensation of 25 lakh on account of mental pain and agony. He has alleged that the Airlines has acted in an arbitrary fashion, and his acts on-board the flight were within his right of freedom of speech and expression. H has alleged that the ban of 6 months, which exceeds the stipulated ban of 3 months given in the Civil Aviation Rules 2017, was against the principles of natural justice.
TRAI IN A FIX: BOMBAY AND GUJARAT HIGH COURTS ALLOW PLEAS CHALLENGING TARIFF ORDER
The Union of India and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have landed themselves in a fix post the recent amendments to the new tariff order and the interconnection regulations.
The Gujarat High Court has admitted a petition by 4 individuals, which claims that the tariff order issued is beyond the powers under Section 11(2) of the TRAI Act and in conflict with the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. Further, the fixation of Rs.130 per month per subscriber as Network Capacity Fee (NCF) has been done without any standard or transparency. The Gujarat High Court has issued notices to the TRAI and the Union of India to respond by 3rd February.
The Bombay High Court has also entertained a petition filed by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Film & TV Producers Guild of India. The petitioners have alleged that not only are the amendments arbitrary and violate natural justice, but they also affect the right to carry out their occupation under Art. 19(1)(g) of the Producers Guild. The Rs.12 cap on pay channels in a bouquet affects the broadcasters’ acquisition strategy. They may not acquire high priced content from the Guild. A division Bench of the Bombay HC has set February 12th as the next date for hearing.
ANAND PATWARDHAN WITHDRAWS CASE AGAINST MIFF
The Bombay High Court dismissed as withdrawn the petition filed by filmmakers Anand Patwardhan and Pankaj Rishi Kumar against Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF). The petitioners had previously alleged that MIFF had not shortlisted any films that were a critique against the ruling government. They had alleged that the cut was tainted with political affiliations, and was made by people chosen by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, and was not based on merit.
The Bombay High Court had, on 24th January, asked the I&B Ministry to disclose the process of selection of films, to which they had told the court that the decision to not choose the films was based on a set criteria and not affected by the critical nature of the films.
Vide an order dated 27th January, the divisional bench comprising Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice RI Chagla disposed the petition. Patwardhan, in a statement subsequent to the order, stated that the case was withdrawn to avoid setting a precedent that filmmakers cannot raise their voice, which would have happened had they lost the case.
COMEDIAN KUNAL KAMRA BANNED BY VARIOUS AIRLINES OVER VIRAL VIDEO QUESTIONING JOURNALIST ARNAB GOSWAMI; DGCA CONDEMNS BAN
Recently, a post by comedian Kunal Kamra went viral online, in which he is questioning the famous journalist Arnab Goswami while on-board an Indigo flight. The video received much attention. While supporters of Kamra commended him for questioning the journalist about his style of reporting and politics, others opposed him by stating that he infringed Goswami’s privacy by constantly heckling him with questions. Indigo suspended Kunal Kamra for 6 months from flying with them, citing “unruly behaviour”.
Pursuant to this, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardip Singh Puri tweeted an ‘advisory’ to other airlines to impose similar restrictions on Kamra. Following the incident, AirIndia and SpiceJet have banned the comedian until further notice.
These actions by the airlines have garnered contempt from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Chief Arun Kumar. Kumar stated that in case of unruly behaviour restricted to verbal communication, the airlines should first impose a temporary ban of 30 days on the passenger and conduct an internal enquiry headed by a retired judge into the incident. The report of such incident must be made by the pilot in-command. Since none of the requirements were met in the instant case, the 6-month ban by IndiGo, as well as the indefinite ban by AirIndia and SpiceJet, was in contravention of the Civil Aviation Requirement rules of 2017.
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION & BROADCASTING ISSUES AN ADVISORY TO CHANNELS TO CONDEMN MOB VIOLENCE AND LYNCHING; FOLLOW APEX COURT’S DIRECTIONS
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has asked private satellite TV/FM channels to run a two-line scroll before broadcasting incidents of lynching, mob violence and cow vigilantism. The Advisory comes in wake of increase in such instances across the country, and to ensure compliance with Supreme Court’s directions in the case of Tehseen Poonawala v. Union of India [(2018) 6 SC 72].
Channels must broadcast the following messages:
Mob violence and lynching is a serious crime and invites serious consequences under the law.
Mob violence and lynching is serious criminal offence and invites stringent punishment under the law.
It is imperative that the news/radio channels run this scroll as a condemnation of such acts. The advisory can be found here.
MEDIA HOUSES SHOULD BE VIGILANT AND SHOULD VERIFY INFORMATION BEFORE RUNNING FALSE REPORTS ON THE JUDICIARY: KARNATAKA HIGH COURT
In a case pertaining to the publication and telecasting of false reports on a member of the judiciary, the Karnataka High Court on 28th January imposed a hefty fine on 4 media houses.
The media houses had earlier reported that the High Court vigilance cell had conducted a raid on a judicial officer and had seized cash from their residence. The media houses admitted that the report was run without verification of the same. The act was held to be an offence under The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 for running scandalous and false reports against the judiciary.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar therefore fined 3 Kannada and 1 English Television channel a total sum of Rs. 75 lakhs, besides tendering an unconditional apology. The bench said that the decision must be taken as a lesson by all media houses before running scandalous and unverified information against the judiciary.
SHEMAROO IN TRADEMARK TROUBLES
Marathi stage director Ashok Hande has filed an FIR against Shemaroo Entertainment for violating his registered trademark ‘Marathi Bana’. Hande conceptualised a show titled ‘Marathi Bana’ in 2005 and the same was registered as a trademark in 2009. Shemaroo has recently launched a Marathi TV Channel called Marathi Bana and Hande has filed a case against the use of the same.
In response to these allegations, Shemaroo has claimed that Hande cannot claim exclusive rights over Marathi Bana for all activities. Their channel ‘Shemaroo Marathi Bana’ is in an entirely different field of activity, in which Hande does not have trademark registration. They claim that the FIR is a malafide attempt to damage the goodwill and reputation of Shemaroo.