Bombay High Court restrains release of Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Officer’ over payment dues in an arbitration petition filed by YT Entertainment [READ ORDER]

The Bombay High Court vide its order dated May 8, 2018 granted an ad-interim injunction restraining the release of the film “Officer” produced by Ram Gopal Varma , starring Nagarjuna, Myra Sareen and others. Read order here.

The order came in an arbitration petition filed by YT Entertainment Limited against Ram Gopal Varma alleging that RGV has defaulted in repaying an amount of INR 1.06 crores due and payable to YT, which RGV had undertaken to pay before the release of his film “Officer”. YT further alleged that RGV had undertaken not to release or distribute the film until payments were made by him, however contrary to that undertaking, he was preparing to release the film in full swing on May 25, 2018.

The Court had directed RGV to remain present in the court on May 7, 2018 at 11 am. However, RGV failed to appear before the court. Instead, he sent one Mr. Sudheer Chandra Padiri to remain present on his behalf. Padiri informed the court that a consent minutes of order had been prepared and Varma was willing to pay the sum of ₹1.06 crore to YT Entertainment on or before May 18, 2018, or before the release of the film, whichever is earlier, through an RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement). Justice Kathawalla, however, insisted that Varma should remain present in the court and sign the consent order and accordingly, the matter was posted for further hearing at 5pm on the same day. RGV however failed to turn up, prompting the court to pass the restraining order.

The ad-interim relief was granted in terms of the following prayer of YT Entertainment :

“b) that pending the commencement and hearing of the Arbitral proceedings between the Petitioners and Respondent, this Hon’ble Court be pleased to restrain the Respondent his servants, agents or assigns or anyone claiming through or under the Respondent by an order and injunction of this Hon’ble Court from selling, transferring, assigning any rights in respect of the film titled “Officer” starring Nagarjuna, Myra Sareen and others and directed and produced by the Respondent and/or from parting with possession of the negatives, digital prints, release prints etc. and/or from releasing the film titled “Officer” starring Nagarjuna, Myra Sareen and others and directed and produced by the Respondent, in any language whatsoever, in any manner whatsoever”

The Court further directed that if RGV does not accept the order or does not give his acknowledgement then the Senior Police Inspector of the local police station shall render all assistance required by the Petitioner or its advocate/ representative in serving the copy of the order and getting an acknowledgment. The matter is next listed on June 7, 2018.

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