Summons for Potter pandal - Puja can be carried out by paying Rs 20 lakh

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 11.10.07

Will puja pandals in future need to clear copyright formalities? With a court notice being slapped on the Harry Potter pandal coming up at FD Block in Salt Lake on Wednesday, it certainly seems so.

The Delhi High Court summons directs representatives of the puja committee and the decorators to appear before it on Friday and answer questions related to a suit filed against it. The summons for the decorator mentions “J.K. Rowling and others” as the plaintiff.

The 394-page summons, delivered to the puja committee by a Sealdah court official, states that the defendants can carry out the puja with a Harry Potter theme by paying Rs 20 lakh.

“Every year, we erect our pandal on the basis of a theme. We had set up a pandal on the model of the Titanic, which was appreciated. Last year, we celebrated Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary by recreating his residence. We are in no way trying to cash in on the popularity of J.K. Rowling’s creation. This year, we modelled the pandal on Hogwarts castle, but will not portray characters from the book,” said Hironmoy Roychowdhury, the president of the block committee.

“We are taken aback by the notice. It seems that Penguin, distributor of Harry Potter books in India, had filed a case in Delhi High Court. As we cannot afford to pay Rs 20 lakh, our representatives will go to Delhi to sort out the matter,” added Roychowdhury. Work on the pandal will not be stopped as “the court has not issued any such directive”, said a police officer.

“I don’t know if the organisers of the puja took permission to use the name of a very popular character. For using anything related to Harry Potter, written permission is necessary from an appropriate authority. Otherwise, legal action can be taken,” said Nirmalya Roychowdhury, the regional sales manager of Penguin India.