After being embroiled in a legal dispute on the copyright of 1973 blockbuster Zanjeer, script writers Salim Khan and Javed Akthar on Wednesday arrived at a financial settlement with producers, paving way for release of the remake of the movie this Friday.
Salim and Javed had filed a suit in the Bombay High Court in July claiming they had copyrights over the script, story and dialogues of the blockbuster, produced by Prakash Mehra.
The duo demanded Rs six crore as monetary compensation from Mehra's kin for remaking the film. Prakash Mehra's son Sumeet Mehra is producing the remake of 'Zanjeer'.
Salim and Javed contented they had the copyrights on the script of the original film and they had allowed Prakash Mehra to produce the film based on their script just once. Hence, a remake could not be produced without their consent.
A single judge of the High Court on September 2 refused to grant interim relief to the writers by staying the release of the film following which they appealed before a division bench.
During the hearing today, a division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M S Sonak, advised the parties to amicably resolve the issue, which was agreed by them.
"Put an end to this now. Without affecting the rights of the plaintiffs (Salim and Javed) we will say that they have accepted the financial settlement. Resolve it..." Justice Chandrachud said.
Agreeing to this, senior counsels Ravi Kadam, Darius Khambata, Janak Dwarkadas and Rafiq Dada requested the court to take the matter in chamber so that the settlement amount is not divulged to the public at large.
The matter was then taken inside the judges' chambers.
"The suit has been withdrawn after the parties have resolved the issue and reached at a financial settlement," the lawyers after they came outside the chamber, but refused to divulge the amount.
Justice SJ Kathawala, while refusing to grant any relief to the script writers, cited two grounds — one was the delay made by Salim and Javed in giving the defendants legal notice and filing the suit against them. The other was that the plaintiffs were demanding monetary compensation.
"In this case, the plaintiffs have not only delayed issuing of the legal notice as well as filing of the suit against the defendants but have themselves asserted that a sum of Rs six crore would be a fair and reasonable monetary compensation," Justice Kathawala had said.
"The plaintiffs are, therefore, not entitled to a mandatory injunction as sought even if this court would have come to the conclusion that the plaintiffs are the owners of the copyright as alleged since the plaintiffs' claim falls within the provisions of Section 38(3)(c) and not under Section 38(3)(b) of Specific Relief Act," the judge ruled.
Under section 38(3)(c) of the Act, a court can grant permanent injunction in cases where the defendant invades plaintiff's right, and the invasion is such that compensation in money would not afford adequate relief.
The court noted that the plaintiffs from day one made it clear that they are willing to give permission to the defendants for remake of the movie 'Zanjeer' upon payment.
The court also took into account the argument of the defendants that Rs 55,000 had been paid towards copyright compensation to the plaintiffs by Prakash Mehra, when the original Zanjeer was made in 1973.