The Madras High Court quashed the criminal proceedings against Sun Pictures Managing Director Kalanithi Maran on Thursday over allegations that superstar Rajinikanth-starrer "Enthiran", produced by the company, was based on a story of another writer.
Justice B Pugalendi of the Madurai bench of the high court passed the order, allowing a petition by Maran, who was the second accused in the case pending in a magistrate's court.
"So far as Kalanithi Maran is concerned, he is a mere producer and has nothing to do with the story and hence, the criminal proceedings under the Copyright Act and the proceedings under IPC section 420 (cheating) against him are quashed," the judge said.
In a common order, he, however, refused to quash the proceedings against the film's director, S Shankar, under the Copyright Act, holding that a prima facie case was made out against him as there were similarities between the storyline of the complainant and the plot of "Enthiran".
The case has been filed by writer Arur Tamilnandan, who has claimed that his stories titled "Thik Thik Deepika" and "Jugiba", which were registered by him, were copied by the makers of "Enthiran", which hit the screens in 2010.
Observing that the concept of "Enthiran" and the story of "Jugiba" were almost similar, the judge said the proceedings against Shankar under the Copyright Act could go on.
However, the contents of the complaint and the facts and circumstances of the case did not make out a case for the offence under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), he said, while quashing it.
The judge also dispensed with Shankar's personal appearance before the trial court, noting that the director was a celebrity and his presence might draw a crowd and hinder the smooth functioning of the court.
Also, the offence against him required only documentary evidence, the judge said.
He directed Shankar to appear as and when his presence was required by the trial court.
Tamilnandan has submitted that his story, "Jugiba", was first published in 1996 and again in 2007, while alleging that "Enthiran" was based on it and it amounted to a clear violation of the Copyright Act and was also punishable under IPC section 420.
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