HC directs producer of "Linga" to deposit Rs 10 crore in bank

HC directs producer of "Linga" to deposit Rs 10 crore in bank

Madurai Bench of Madras High Court today gave the go ahead for release of Rajnikanth's 'Linga' tomorrow with a rider that the producer deposit Rs ten crore as guarantee since a claim by a director that the film was based on his story is to be settled in a civil court.

A division bench comprising Justice V Dhanabalan and Justice V M Velumani directed 'Linga' producer Rockline Venkatesh to deposit Rs five crore in cash in an Indian Bank branch here and give a bank guarantee for the balance amount through the court Registry before tomorrow noon and then release the film.

The bench gave the direction while declining to entertain an appeal from Director K R Ravi Rathinam, the maker of film "Mullai Vanam 999" against a single judge order dismissing his petition which contended that the storyline of multi-lingual Linga, set to hit the screens on Rajnikanth's 63rd birthday tomorrow, was the same as that of his movie.

The bench said it could not find fault with the single judge’s Dec 3 order and said the Ravi Rathinam should approach the concerned civil court within four weeks from the date of receipt of the judgment copy. But before that Linga's producer should deposit the money as a guarantee.

The judges said they were giving the direction on the basis of "justice, equity and good conscience".

Ravi Rathinam had filed the appeal seeking to quash the order of Justice M Venugopal, who held that merits of the rival claims made by both parties that they owned the story cannot be investigated in summary proceedings in a writ petition.

Ravi Rathinam's claim was objected by Linga's director K S Ravikumar and screenplay writer S Ponkumaran stating that he had not published his story anywhere till date. Hence he could not claim copyright for a work which was unpublished.

Ravi Rathinam, who had submitted his film story in a sealed cover to the court, submitted that if "Linga" was allowed to be released as per schedule tomorrow, his 47 year labour in the cinema industry would go waste.

The producer of Linga contended that there was legal remedy for Ravi Rathinam to claim damages if he owned the story line.

The single judge had in his order stated that the merits of the claims made by both the parties cannot be investigated in summary proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution in the High Court and the appropriate remedy for the petitioner is to file a civil suit before competent forum or avail other remedies available under general law or criminal law, if he so desires/advised.

The bench allowed the producer of Linga to appeal in the Supreme Court if they wanted to do so.

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