MADURAI: Producers of Rajinikanth-starrer ‘Lingaa’ breathed easy on Thursday, as the Madras high court allowed them to release the film as scheduled on December 12, the superstar’s birthday. But the court relief came with heavy cost: a division bench which heard the case directed the producers to deposit a total of Rs 10 crore.
The order for depositing the money was passed by a division bench on the basis of “equity, justice and good conscience”. As directed by the court, a sum of Rs 3 crore was transferred to the bank account of the Madurai bench of the Madras high court in the evening itself. The remaining amount, both in cash and bank guarantee, will be deposited with the court by Monday.
Confirming the money transfer, a source in the high court told TOI: “The producer has transferred an amount of Rs 3 crore to the account of registry, and the same will be deposited with the Indian Bank on Friday.”
A bench of justices V Dhanapalan and V M Velumani passed the order on an appeal filed by KR Ravi Rathinam, who said a single judge had erroneously dismissed his writ petition. He has claimed the storyline of ‘Lingaa’ is same as that of his film ‘Mullai Vanam 999’ and that it had been stolen.
During arguments on Thursday, counsel W Peter Rameshkumar said though a complaint was lodged on November 1, police failed to take proper action by appointing a fact-finding team. “As per the Supreme Court judgment, police are supposed to do proper investigation. But, in this case they inquired the appellant, but not the producer, writer, director and actor-distributor,” he said.
While additional advocate general K Chellapandian said police did take proper action, the counsel for producers, Sanjay Ramaswami, said the single judge had rightly directed the parties to approach the appropriate civil forum for relief. “There is a legal remedy for the appellant to claim damages, if any, by approaching a civil court,” he said.
In its order, the bench said that in the absence of any mechanism, the high court could not intervene in the rival claims of the parties, for which there is an effective forum. “At the same time, in order to uphold equity, justice and good conscience, the appellant should move the concerned civil court within four weeks from the date of receipt of the judgment copy. And, the producer is directed to make a deposit and on such deposit he is directed to release the movie forthwith,” the bench said.