High Court rejects Kher's petition against Zee

The Mumbai High Court on Wednesday quashed film actor Anupam Kher's hopes of getting back at Zee Telefilms for the summary way in which he was dismissed as host of its flop game show Sawaal Dus Crore Ka (SDCK). In his petition, Kher had challenged his 'arbitrary' termination. He had also sought an injunction from the court to restrain Zee from discontinuing with the programme without him as a host.

Zee in its defence blamed Kher as the one who breached the contract by speaking to the media and said it was justified in removing him from the show, Press Trust of India reported. After hearing both the parties at length, Justice KK Baam, rejected Kher's petition on the ground that such a dispute could only be decided through arbitration. Since nothing survived in the petition, it was disposed of by the court. Kher is now free to refer the matter to arbitration or prefer an appeal against this order.

"No doubt, Anupam is a good artist. Yet, he cannot compel Zee to retain him as a host," the judge remarked. Kher had challenged the notice of 9 December served on him by Zee informing him of its decision to drop him from SDCK.

Kher's counsel Janak Dwarkadas contended that Zee had no right to terminate his client's services without giving him 60 days prior notice as this was one of the conditions of the contract signed between Kher and Zee on 13 October. Zee's erratic dealings had publicly humiliated and psychologically traumatised Kher, Dwarkadas claimed. Zee's counsel V Tulzapurkar countered that Kher had himself committed breach of contract by his utterances in the media which included his saying he was not interested in the show. Neither Zee nor Kher responded to calls requesting further details on the developments.

Meanwhile, the Cine TV and Artistes Association (CTVAA) committee, to which Kher had sent a complaint relating to the same case, was yet to meet on the matter. Association Secretary Dharmesh Tiwari had said on 14 December that a meeting would be taking place within a couple of days. Gathering all the committee members from their various commitments is proving a major hurdle.

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