Delhi HC order Fox Studios to give credit to lawyer in Chhapaak

Delhi High Court Chhapaak film lawyer credit

The Delhi High Court today directed Fox Studios, to give credit to the acid attack survivor, Laxmi Agarwal’s lawyer, Aparna Bhat, during the screening of the film Chhapaak. 

The present petition was moved before Hon’ble Delhi High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution against the order passed Additional Senior Civil Judge Pankaj Sharma at Patiala House Court. 

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As per the Hon’ble Delhi High Court  order, the filmmakers or Fox Studios shall acknowledge the contribution to the film made by Advocate Aparna Bhat in the beginning of the film by adding the line,

“Inputs by Ms. Aparna Bhat, the lawyer who represented Laxmi Agarwal are acknowledged.”

Delhi High Court order the credits slide to be added in the beginning of the film by January 15 for screenings at multiplexes, and by January 18 for physical copies. 

The order was pronounced by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh in a plea by Fox Star Studios challenging an order passed by the Trial Court (Patiala House Court). 

The Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar, who was appearing for Fox Studios, that Advocate Aparna Bhat claim, in her suit filed before the  court, amounts to a violation of Rule 36 of the Bar Council Rules. Rule 36 of the Bar Council Rules prohibits advocates from soliciting or advertising their services.

The Court added that advocate skills and could not and labour could not be undermined especially after a clear assurance, representation and promise was made to recognise her contribution.

Court Said: 

In the absence of a contract and payment of consideration, her efforts, skill and labour cannot vest with the producer completely gratuitously. She at least has a right to be recognized and acknowledged, to which the Producer/Director had willingly agreed since the beginning of the project… Clearly, from the initial screenplay, which was to acknowledge both Ms. Laxmi Agarwal and the Plaintiff, the complete absence of any mention of the Plaintiff’s name anywhere in the beginning or in the end credits would constitute reneging from the promise. A perusal of the credits shows that a large number of contributors have been expressly acknowledged.

Source: LiveLaw and BarandBench