Author gives court a miss in Bhandarkar case

Actress-turned-author Seema Seth on Monday failed to appear before a Delhi court to give it the script of the movie Fashion to support her allegation that filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and two others had stolen the “idea and plot” for their movie from her book.

Seth was given three months by additional chief metropolitan magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma to submit the movie’s script to support her allegation against the three.

Seth was to appear before the court as per its earlier direction to her to produce a “cogent and clear evidence to show that the accused persons have infringed upon her copyright by producing Fashion”.

The court had given her the direction earlier while refusing to order filing of an FIR against Bhandarkar, producer Ronnie Screwala and writer Ajay Mongia. The court has now fixed January 28, 2013 to hear the case.

Seth, in her plea, contended that Bhandarkar had indulged in “clear cut violation of the Copyright Act”. She has also made Ronnie Screwvala of UTV Motion Pictures a party in the case, and has sought Rs 2.5 crore as compensation from them.

Seth had sought lodging of an FIR under “appropriate” sections of the IPC and the Copyright Act.

However, the court said there can be no copyright in an idea, subject matter, themes, plots and historical or legendary facts. Copyright violation in such cases is confined to the forum, manner and arrangement or expression of the idea by the author of the copyrighted work, it had said.

Bail to trader

A man, arrested from the ongoing India International Trade Fair for allegedly selling banned wildlife products, was granted bail by a Delhi court on Monday.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate G N Pandey granted bail to Ranjit Kumar Dutta on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of the same amount.

Dutta was arrested from IITF’s West Bengal pavilion on November 20 for selling wildlife items, including shells of Cassis Cornuta (a species of large sea snail) and Trochus Niloticus (a top-shaped sea snail). These species appear in the scheduled category of the Wildlife Protection Act.

“From the record it appears that the prosecution is not sure regarding the genuineness of the recovered contraband,” the court said.

“On the application of the investigating officer, the recovered shells falling under schedule one and four (of the Act) were directed to be sent for expert opinion,” the court observed.

“Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, period of custody and nature of offence, the accused is admitted on bail,” the court said.

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