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Madras High Court quashes complaint lodged by film producer

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Madras High Court has quashed a private complaint lodged by film producer Dilip K. Shah before the XIII Metropoligan Magistrate court at Egmore in Chennai against an individual on charges of defamation and cheating in connection with the sale of satellite and television rights of Hindi film ‘ Delhi Durbar,' a dubbed version of Malayalam movie Indraprastham.

Allowing a petition filed by the Hirachand, the purchaser of the movie's television and satellite rights, Justice G.M. Akbar Ali said that a complaint lodged by the petitioner with the Film and Television Guild of South India alleging that the producer had given him a poor quality negative of the film would not constitute an offence under Section 499 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Further, the existence of a fraudulent intention right from the beginning of a transaction is mandatory to attract the ingredients of Section 415 (cheating) of IPC.

But a reading of the complaint does not reveal any such intention especially when the complainant had not disputed the petitioner's claim that he had already paid Rs. 2.06 lakh as against the total consideration of Rs. 2.7 lakh, the judge said.

According to the petitioner, he entered into an agreement with Mr. Shah on September 7, 2007 and paid Rs. 50,000 at the time of signing of the agreement.

Thereafter, he paid Rs. 1.56 lakh and received an irrevocable letter from the producer in favour of Prasad Laboratories in Chennai to issue the censored print of the movie to him.

Bad patches

However, the technicians in the laboratory informed the petitioner that the negatives had heavy patches and pin holes and the quality was below average. They also opined that it was not fit for telecasting.

This was informed to the producer. Yet, he was not able to give a good quality negative despite a series of communications between them over phone and e-mail.

The petitioner demanded repayment of his money and also lodged a complaint with the Film and Television Guild of South India, in which he as well as the producer were members, for settling the matter through conciliation. Thereafter, Mr. Shah lodged the private complaint accusing the petitioner of attempting to malign his reputation by preferring a complaint with the Guild.

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