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Desai Diwanji, Veritas Legal get interim relief in suit against Mohenjo Daro film release [Read Order]

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Desai and Diwanji, and Veritas Legal got a favourable order from the Bombay High Court today in a suit involving the soon to be released film, Mohenjo Daro. Today, GS Patel J dismissed an injunction plea against the film’s release, and imposed costs of one lakh and fifty thousand against the plaintiff, Akashaditya Harishchandra Lama.

Claiming that the film’s director, Ashutosh Gowarikar had stolen his script, Lama had initiated a number of litigation in different fora, including a copyright claim in a city civil court. The matter was eventually brought before the Bombay High Court, with the court hearing a plea for injunction yesterday.

Dismissing the plea, and imposing costs, GS Patel held that there was absolutely no case made out for an injunction. In fact, the judge was scathing in his findings on Lama’s claims.

“It is problematic at so many levels, it is hard to know where to begin….I do not know why the plaintiff thought it necessary to file the plaint….”

It is not just the allegations made that had Patel J unhappy, it was the amount of time spent on the matter as well. The matter was argued for the better part of yesterday, in a week that was meant to be for testamentary suits.

“When we spend time on plaintiffs like these, we send every conceivable wrong message to society….The suit is entirely speculative in nature and is based on incorrect and contradictory statements…” 

Likening the interim application and the plaintiff’s conduct to “blackmail”, Patel J then asked senior counsel Ravi Kadam to suggest the quantum of costs to be imposed. Yesterday, the senior counsel had pressed for costs, claiming that Gowarikar’s reputation had been damaged by the allegations made by Lama.

Kadam suggested that the costs be paid to the state Legal Services Authority, after which Patel J imposed costs of one lakh and fifty thousand to be paid to the Naam Foundation.

In the High Court, Lama was represented by SR Mishra, who briefed counsel Rohaan Cama. On the opposite side, Gowarikar was represented by senior counsel Ravi Kadam and Ashish Kamath, briefed by Desai and Diwanji. Veritas Legal’s Rahul Dwarkadas and Neveille Mukerjee briefed Cyrus Ardeshir for UTV and Disney India.

Read the complete order below.

ordjud-11.pdf
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