Regulators

'Karishma' case transferred to single bench of Calcutta High Court

MUMBAI: The Subrata Roy-promoted Sahara India Media Company has won a temporary reprieve. On Thursday, 22 May 2003, the Supreme Court sent back to the copy-right violation dispute between Barbara Taylor Bradford and the Subrata Roy promoted Sahara TV to the Calcutta High Court. However, the 12 May interim order of the High Court restraining the telecast of the Rs 600 million serial Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny till further notice. The case has been transferred to a single bench of the Calcutta High Court.

On Monday, 19 May 2003, Sahara moved the Supreme Court seeking to take the legal battle back to the Calcutta High Court to fight a suit filed by New York-based novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford alleging that mega serial Karishma ..was an unauthorised copy of her popular novel A Woman of Substance. 

Sumit Roy, head of Sahara's media and entertainment business, refused to comment on the developments saying the case was "sub-judice". But sources close to the company had told indiantelevision.com, "Sahara has decided to fight the case on its merit and it is highly unlikely that it would go in for an out of court settlement with Bradford."

The mega serial, starring Bollywood actress Karisma Kapoor, has been off-air despite airing its first episode on 12 May 2003. The serial has been touted as one of the biggest and costliest serials of Indian television that had the potential of turning round the fortunes of Sahara Manoranjan, a la KBC and Star Network in India.

On 14 May, the Supreme Court had confirmed the stay on the telecast of the mega serial Karishma on the allegation of Bradford that the serial was based on her novel, A Woman of Substance.

The Supreme Court decision on the Special Leave Petition filed by Taylor challenging an order of the Division Bench allowing telecast of the TV soap, is still pending, a Press Trust of India report said today.

The PTI has reported that a vacation Bench comprising Justice N Santosh Hegde and Justice Shivaraj V Patil, before whom the application seeking permission for going back to the single judge bench was mentioned today, posted the matter for hearing on Thursday.

The report adds that the Sahara's application today used the plea - "on mature consideration and on legal advice" - while stating that it should have accepted one of the suggestion of the Bench on May 14 to go back to the single judge bench of the High Court, which, on 7 May, had restrained the channel from telecasting the serial.

Sahara also suggested that the 12 May order of the division bench of the High Court, allowing the airing of the serial, could also be set aside and the Single Judge Bench be requested to decide the matter expeditiously.

Rejecting Sahara Manoranjan's pleas for vacation of the 12 May interim order staying the telecast of the serial, the Supreme Court, on 14 May, had continued the stay on airing the serial and also stayed all proceedings before the Kolkata high court, the PTI report stated.

The apex court on 12 May had stayed the high court order giving the go-ahead for telecast of the mega serial on Sahara Manoranjan. The serial was telecast on that day but was suspended a day later.

On Monday, 12 May, a single judge bench of the high court refused to vacate the may seven injunction order restraining the TV channel from airing the serial. The TV channel, then, moved the division bench of the high court in the afternoon and got stay of the injunction order.

Not giving up, Barbara, through her solicitor Mondal, filed an appeal before the vacation bench in the evening and the bench of Justices Hegde and Patil heard the special leave petition at home late in the evening and in an 

ex-parte order stayed the airing of the serial.

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