Supreme Court of India have ruled that ‘Chakravyuh’ movie’s song Mehngai will have to run a disclaimer with the video footage of the song and even the audio version have to run a disclaimer. The lawsuit was filed by Bata India Ltd. against Prakash Jha & Org. First High Court of Delhi ruled on 11th October, 2012 that the use of word ‘BATA’ was impermissible in the song. That decision was overruled by Division Bench of High Court of Delhi in just four days i.e. on 15th October, 2012 stated that the use of the trade name in the song was rhetoric hyperbole and tied this in with the socialist and political struggle between the haves and the have nots that the film is based on. On 19th October, 2012 Supreme Court of India ruled that while the song is played either in video or in audio mode, a disclaimer have to be added to both.
Background of the case
First a lawsuit was filed by BATA against Prakash Jha for using the name of ‘BATA’ in the song ‘Mehngai’ alleging that it defamed their name. This lawsuit was filed in High Court of Delhi and Justice Gambhir gave the decision in favor of BATA stating that use of ‘BATA’ word was impressible in the song. Prakash Jha filed a counter-suit in the Division-Bench of High Court of Delhi where the first decision was overruled and stating that the use of the trade name in the song was rhetoric hyperbole and tied this in with the socialist and political struggle between the haves and have nots that the film is based on. After this decision BATA filed a new suit in Supreme Court of India.
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The lyrics which are involved in this case are:
“Birla Ho Ya Tata Ambani Ho Ya BATA,
Apne Apne Chakar Mein Desh Ko Hai Kata
Birla Ho Ya Tata Ambani Ho Ya BATA
Apne Apne Chakar Mein Desh Ko Hai Kata
Are humre hi khoon se inka engine chale
Dhakadhak, Aam admi ki jeb ho gai hai safa
Chat, aam aadmi ki jeb ho gai safachat.”
BATA group was alleging
BATA filed the suit for permanent injunction restraining infringement of its trademark/ name, passing off, defamation, rendition of accounts, damages etc. against Prakash Jha & Org. on the grounds that plaintiff is the owner/ exclusive licensee of legendary brand and the said trademark and logo of ‘BATA’ is registered on the name of the plaintiff since 14th April, 1969 and it is valid till 2014. Plaintiff also stated that they enjoy high reputation for their honest and principled conduct, quality and reliability of their products. Plaintiff alleged that lyrics used in the song are defamatory and transmission of the same either through promos or in the film or through CDs etc will disparage or dilute the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff amongst the common people.
Court findings and ruling
The Supreme Court of India found out that:
1. The song appears in the context of the movie.
2. The use of the names of the business houses including BATA is in poor taste and could have been avoided.
3. Court also made it clear that ‘Poor taste’ does not imply that the reputation of those business houses was meant to be tarnished.
Keeping in mind all of the points Court ordered defendants to run a disclaimer with the video song and asked them to do the same for audio version too.
Disclaimer that was asked by the Court to be played:
“Use of the names of the song are merely as example. No injury or disrespect is intended to any particular person or brand.”
All of the decisions have been given by different Courts in a record time. As you can see there is not much difference between all the rulings and the decisions are over-ruled in all the judgments. The final decision of Supreme Court of India is best of them all and that justifies use of the ‘BATA’ word in the song as well as provides comfort to the plaintiff.