The Madras High Court today dismissed a plea seeking a stay on the release of superstar Rajinikanth-starrer film “Lingaa”, saying merits of the rival claims made by both parties that they owned the story cannot be investigated in summary proceedings in a writ petition.
Justice M Venugopal of the bench here said the appropriate remedy for the petitioner was to file a civil suit “before the competent forum or avail other remedies available under general law or criminal law, if he desires so”.
The judge said the case did not have the merit for hearing as a writ petition.
“The petitioner himself is not sure of his rights or what duty he seeks to enforce through which by way of present writ of mandamus. On the basis affidavit and typed set of papers of this case, it is a fit case to be dismissed in limine as not maintainable,” the judge said.
“The petitioner cannot claim copyright in an unpublished work. The statements in Youtube do not constitute publication of story,” the judge said.
The court said even without knowing or attempting to know the exact story line of “Lingaa”, the petitioner had ventured to file the present plea on a mere guess and surmise with an intention to gain undue publicity for himself and hold respondents to ransom and make illegal gain out of it.
Also he filed the petition “with an inordinate and unexplainable delay at this eleventh hour” which disentitled him from maintaining the present writ, the judge said.
In his petition, filmmaker Ravi Rathinam had alleged that the storyline of “Lingaa” was same as that of his 2013 movie “Mullai Vanam 999”. Justifying his claim, he said the entire story was uploaded on YouTube on February 24, 2013.
Denying the claim, “Lingaa” director K S Ravikumar and screenplay writer S Ponkumaran argued that the petitioner had not published his story anywhere till date and the statements on YouTube did not constitute publication of his story. Hence the petitioner could not claim copyright for one which was unpublished, they said.
The judge said the respondents had stoutly denied having stolen the story. Hence the claims made by the rival parties could not be decided by this court.
“Lingaa” is scheduled for release on December 12, Rajinikanth’s birthday.