High Court lifts restraint on film Chakrvyuh's 'Mehngai' number

6 years ago

The Delhi High Court today brightened up the chances of the release of Prakash Jha's film Chakravyuh without any editing of its poupular number on 'Mehngai' (inflation), featuring the name of leading shoe maker Bata.

A division bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Manmohan Singh stayed the high court's single-judge bench order, which had restrained Jha from releasing the song 'Mehngai' with the name of leading shoe manufacturer Bata.

The division bench stayed the single judge's restraint order saying "in the contextual setting of the movies the song is not defamatory".

"The movie raised the burning social issues like disparity in wealth, fight of value and thought........to bring out the public debate. We do not find that in the contextual setting or background of the movie the song or its stanza is defamatory and be prima facie derogatory to Bata," the bench said.

 "We are inclined to stay the operation of impugned order," the bench added and posted the matter for November 7 for further hearing on it.

The film Chakravyuh is scheduled to be released on Dusserhara (24th October). Its poupular number on 'Mehngai' mentions various leading industrialists including Bata in it.

The song talks about the skyrocketing prices and unequal distribution of wealth in society. The Bata group had objected to the usage of its name in the lyrics.

The single judge had on October 15 restrained the film makers from releasing the song 'Mehngai' after a defamation suit filed by Bata India Ltd objecting to the use of its name in the lyrics.

Film director Jha today challenged the single judge's order before a division bench against the stay on the release of song.

During the hearing lasting for over three hours, senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Jha, argued that the song is already on You Tube from September 7 after it got certificate of the Central Board of Film Certification.

He said his client's fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression needs to be protected.

The Bata counsel and senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, however, argued that the song is not written on basis of any research on how the company carries its business.

"The movie is dealing with a theme of social evils, and in that background comes this song, which would damage the company's (Bata) name," the counsel said.

"You can not make a general comment by taking names of specific individual or company. You are portraying me (Bata) as an evil in the song," Kaul said adding "the song shows that the company is an evil, sucking the blood of the nation and operate on the blood of the nation."

Earlier, filing the law suit before the single judge, Bata had said that "the lyrics in the song are offending and would cause serious harm to the firm's reputation and goodwill."

Urging the court to pass a restrain order against the director, producer, writer and producer of the song 'mehngai,' A M Turaz and Vijay Verma, the shoe company said, "The defamatory song has been used by the film makers on You Tube to promote the film."

Justice Kailash Gambhir on October 15, in an interim order, had allowed Bata's plea and directed that the song will not be released with the name Bata till the plea was decided by the court. PTI

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