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Kerala HC Dismisses Plea for Restraining Orders Against ‘Kantara’ Producer on Controversial ‘Varaharoopam’ Song

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Kantara Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: 24 November 2022 at 21:21 IST

Kerala HC dismissed the petitions brought by Hombale Films, the producer of the film Kantara, challenging the ad-interim injunction orders issued by the district courts of Kozhikkode and Palakkad prohibiting the use of the song “Varaha Roopam” in the film, because it was unsustainable.

It was decided that additional remedies against the interim orders must be used before the High Court’s remedy can be used.

The copyright infringement lawsuits filed alleging that the song “Varaharoopam” was lifted verbatim from the tune “Navarasam” by the band Thaikkudam Bridge from Kerala resulted in the injunction orders.

Justice C.S. Dias’ bench noted that the petitioner had addressed the Court in accordance with Article 227 of the Indian Constitution, entirely eschewing the process outlined in the Code of Civil Procedure for handling matters under Order 39 of the Code.

“This Court’s supervisory authority should not be used to interfere with every ad-interim decision made by the lower courts. If such is the case, the Code’s enacted legislative structure will be upset and dislodged, and the Courts of Original Jurisdiction and Appellate Courts will be rendered ineffective.”

The petitioner’s arguments comprised mixed factual and legal issues, which the High Court noted should be resolved by the Court of First Instance or the Appellate Court.

“It is not the responsibility of this Court to evaluate the merits and validity of each and every position made in the original petition, especially at the ad-interim stage. If this Court engages in such an exercise, it will probably foreclose the parties’ statutory rights and result in significant harm to them.”

The Registry’s concerns that the petitions submitted by Hombale films are unmaintainable were upheld by the Court. The petitions were rejected by the court as unmaintainable, but the film producer was allowed to pursue any other legal options.

The Palakkad District Court and the Kozhikode Principal District Court had issued temporary injunction orders preventing the producers of the Kannada film “Kantara” from using the song “Varaha Roopam” in theatres and on streaming services. The court in the current case was dealing with two petitions challenging these decisions.

The Kozhikode District Court’s decision was made in response to a lawsuit brought by Thaikkudam Bridge, which sang the song “Navarasam.”

The order was made by the Palakkad Court in response to a lawsuit brought by Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Company Ltd, the company in charge of “Navarasam’s” copyright.

According to the injunction orders, Hombale Films was prohibited from showing the movie “Kantara” with the synchronised music “Varaha Roopam” in public or publishing it on OTT platforms, streaming, distributing, or otherwise communicating to the general public until further orders.