Bombay High Court Clears Release of ‘Chhapaak’

Mumbai: The suit filed by writer Mr. Rakesh Bharti before the High Court of Bombay seeking a stay on the release of the film ‘Chhapaak’ came up for hearing yesterday before Hon’ble Justice SC Gupte.

The writer in his suit has claimed to have obtained life story rights of Laxmi Agarwal who is an acid attack survivor and to have originally written and shared the story of the film based on her life with the producer Fox Star and Director Meghana Gulzar.

Fox Star which was represented by Saikrishna & Associates, filed a detailed affidavit stating that the suit is absolutely false, frivolous and filed with ulterior dishonest motive. In the Affidavit, Fox Star has asserted that neither did Mr. Bharti never shared his story with Fox Star nor had he highlighted any instance of similarity between his story and that of the film. He only claimed copyright in an idea or subject matter of the film or on facts pertaining to Laxmi Agarwal which are already in the public domain and cannot be protected as copyright.

During the course of hearing, the counsel for Mr. Bharti made submissions on the grounds of similarity between his story and the film but the Court was of the opinion that the same was common information in public domain and prima facie it was not possible to grant ad-interim relief to Mr. Bharti on the facts presented by him at this stage. The Court also declined Mr. Bharti’s request of appointing a commissioner to compare his script with that of the film and clarified that such relief can only be granted once a prima facie case is made out.

At that point, Mr. Bharti’s counsel submitted that it did not wish to press for ad-interim relief as of today and sought liberty to press for relief after the film is released and is in public domain. Accordingly, the Court did not stay the release of the film and allowed Mr. Bharti the liberty to raise contentions on similarity post-release of the film if required.

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