The Kerala High Court has quashed the case relating to the copyright of ‘Varaharoopam’ song against the filmmakers of ‘Kantara’ movie pursuant to a settlement between parties, on account that the dispute is private in nature and that the settlement can be accepted. The Court was dealing with a batch of criminal miscellaneous cases filed for quashing the FIR registered for offences punishable under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957.

A Single Bench of Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan said, “… this Court perused the facts in this case and also perused the documents produced by the parties. After going through the entire facts and circumstances, I am of the considered opinion that, the dispute is private in nature and the settlement can be accepted.”

Senior Advocate Joseph Kodianthara represented the petitioners while Public Prosecutor Sanal P. Raj with Advocates Dinoop PD and M. Uma Devi represented the respondents.

Factual Background -

When the matters came up for consideration, it was submitted that the entire dispute between the petitioners and the victim was settled and they had no objection in quashing the proceedings. The counsel appearing for the victim also submitted that the matter was settled and the victim had no objection in quashing the prosecution. The Public Prosecutor, expressed reservations about quashing the proceedings solely on the basis of the settlement but conceded that the matter was settled between the parties.

Earlier, in February month of this year, the Supreme Court had stayed the condition of the Kerala High Court on screening movie ‘Kantara’ without the song ‘Varaharoopam’. On February 8, the High Court granted anticipatory bail to the director and producer in a case registered in a Kozhikode police station alleging plagiarism in the said song. The allegation was that "Varaharoopam" was an unauthorized copy of the song "Navarasam" shown on the Malayalam music channel Kappa TV.

The High Court in the above regard relied upon the judgment in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh v. Laxmi Narayan and Others (2019 (5) SCC 688) wherein the three-Judge bench of the Apex Court has summarized the situation in which non-compoundable offences can be quashed invoking the powers under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the criminal miscellaneous case and quashed the proceedings against the petitioners.

Cause Title- Vijay Kirgandur & Ors. v. State of Kerala & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:KER:65416)

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