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Chhapaak Credits Row: Delhi HC Asks Fox Studios to Give Credits to Lawyer Aparna Bhat

Karan Tripathi
11 Jan 2020 5:45 AM GMT
Chhapaak Credits Row: Delhi HC Asks Fox Studios to Give Credits to Lawyer Aparna Bhat
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Delhi High Court has asked Fox Studios to add a slide in the film Chhapaak, giving credits to lawyer Aparna Bhat who has represented the acid attack survivor Lakshmi Aggarwal. Justice Pratibha Singh directed the credits slide to be added in the beginning of the film by January 15 for screenings at multiplexes, and by January 18 for physical copies. Fox Studios had challenged the...

Delhi High Court has asked Fox Studios to add a slide in the film Chhapaak, giving credits to lawyer Aparna Bhat who has represented the acid attack survivor Lakshmi Aggarwal.

Justice Pratibha Singh directed the credits slide to be added in the beginning of the film by January 15 for screenings at multiplexes, and by January 18 for physical copies.

Fox Studios had challenged the trial court order which had asked the filmmakers to give credits to lawyer Aparna Bhat.

Aparna Bhat had represented acid attack survivor Lakshmi in her legal battle before various courts.

The present petition was moved under Article 227 of the Constitution against the order passed Additional Senior Civil Judge Pankaj Sharma at Patiala House Court.

In that order, the trial court had held the following: It is submitted that many people have done advance bookings for the film which is scheduled to be released on January 10 in over 1600 screens and 1200 theatres across the country. Moreover, many theatres have reserved their screens for showcasing the film on the scheduled release date.

Therefore, if the said order is not vacated, varied or modified, the Petitioner will suffer grave injustice, and irreparable harm and injury.

It is also submitted that the trial court had committed a legal irregularity as the order for mandatory injunction was passed in favour of the plaintiff without issuing summons to the defendants, or giving them an opportunity to contest the suit.

Further, it is submitted that the trial judge had decreed the suit on the very first date of hearing without even issuing a notice to defendants.

Citing judgements from the Supreme Court, the Petitioner has also submitted that an order of mandatory injunction stands on a much higher footing and ought not to be passed in a casual manner.

Appearing for Aparna Bhat, Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh had submitted that the correspondence between Gulzar and Bhat clearly indicates that the present case qualifies as 'promissory estoppel'.

Mr Parikh also said that the decision of not giving credits to Aparna was not even communicated to her.

Senior Counsel Sandeep Sethi, who appeared for Meghna Gulzar, argued that Bhat has no legal right to seek acknowledgment in the credits. He said:

'The right to claim credits is conferred either by the statute or a contract between the parties. In the present case, neither of the conditions exist.

Mr Sethi further argued that Mr Nayar the film has not even given credits to Lakshmi and her family. He said that in her previous films such as Talvar, credits were not given to people who had helped in the research for the script.

It was pointed out by Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar, who was appearing for Fox Studios, that Bhat's claim, in her suit filed before the trial court, amounts to a violation of Rule 36 of the Bar Council Rules. Rule 36 of the Bar Council Rules prohibits advocates from soliciting or advertising their services.

It was further pointed out by Mr Nayar that Bhat is not claiming credits for her contribution to the script. On the contrary, she wants a fact to be highlighted that she continues to fight against the sexual and physical violence against women.

The order will be pronounced tomorrow at 10:30 am.  

(Story to be modified once the order is uploaded)

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