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SC firm with Karishma

May 14: Karishma — The Miracles of Destiny will have to wait for some more time before the second episode of the mega-series is beamed on the small screen, with the Supreme Court today extending the stay on its telecast.

The battleground shifted to New Delhi as the apex court admitted a special leave petition by New York-based author Barbara Taylor Bradford, who has contended that the Sahara serial plagiarises her novel A Woman of Substance, and suspended all proceedings of the case before Calcutta High Court.

The 260-episode Karishma will stay off air as long as Taylor Bradford’s petition is pending before the apex court, the vacation bench of Justices Santosh Hegde and Shivraj Patil added.

The judges rejected Sahara TV’s argument that “irreparable loss” would occur to the channel if the serial was stopped. Its counsel Gopal Subramaniam had pointed out that Rs 60 crore had already been spent on making the Karisma Kapoor-starrer.

The apex court said that if it was proved that Karishma did not violate copyright, monetary compensation could be paid to producer Akashdeep and the channel to make good the loss.

On the other hand, “irreparable loss” would accrue to the author if it were proved later that the serial was a copyright violation of A Woman of Substance, the apex court said. This could not be compensated in terms of “any currency note”.

Sahara lawyers Subramaniam and Abhrojit Mitra contested the May 12 stay on the serial on grounds of “material suppression”. Subramaniam argued Taylor Bradford “suppressed” the fact before Calcutta High Court that she had earlier filed a similar petition in Bombay High Court, which gave her liberty to come up with a fresh plea later. But Justice Hegde observed that the Bombay ruling did not bar her from filing a fresh petition in another court.

Bradford Taylor’s counsel, A.K. Ganguly, argued that it could easily be established that there was copyright violation on the basis of an interview Karishma’s producer gave to a freelance journalist, saying the serial was totally based on A Woman of Substance.

Subramaniam said the “so-called” interview could not at all be depended upon as it was inadmissible as evidence and was not published anywhere.

Besides taking the battle to Delhi, Fox & Mandal, the solicitor firm representing Taylor Bradford, today filed a contempt petition against Sahara in the Supreme Court for airing Karishma on Monday night despite the apex court verdict barring the beaming of the serial on Sahara Manoranjan.

“We communicated the order to the Sahara counsels at 9.05 pm on Monday, which they even have acknowledged…. But they carried on with the beaming of the serial and this is contempt of the court,” said a solicitor of Fox & Mandal.

When contacted, Sahara lawyers refused to comment.

The case is likely to come up for hearing in early July.

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