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Karnataka HC stays FIR against Rahul Gandhi, others in `KGF2` song case

Karnataka HC stays FIR against Rahul Gandhi, others in `KGF2` song case

The Karnataka High Court on Friday issued an interim stay on the investigation in the complaint lodged by MRT Studios against Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh and Supriya Shrinate over `KGF2` movie song case.

Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav issued the stay on the eve of the Winter Vacation of the High Court. The interim stay will be in force till the next date of hearing.

Senior advocate A S Ponnanna appearing for the Congress party leaders submitted that it was alleged two music clips from the movie were used in the videos related to the Bharat Jodo yatra. A suit in a commercial court was filed two days before the police complaint was lodged in the Yeshwantpur police station in Bengaluru though the yatra did not pass through the city.

The commercial court`s order to freeze the social media handles of the Congress party was set aside by the High Court after the party promised to remove the alleged offending content. Ponnanna informed the court that though the content was removed, MRT Studio filed a contempt petition.

Ponnanna argued that the issue was related to copyright infringement but a criminal complaint was filed and immediately a FIR was registered by the police.

“Copyright is statutory right. In the absence of a cognizable offence, (the) FIR is bad in law,” he pointed out.

He said the video is not from the `KGF` movie but only a part of the song which was synchronised with the visuals of the yatra.

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The FIR was registered under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 403 (Dishonest misappropriation of property) 465 (forgery) r/w Section 34 (criminal act with common intent) of Indian Penal Code, Section 33 of Copyright Act and Section 66 of Information Technology Act.

Ponnanna argued that even if the entire complaint is accepted as true there was no criminality involved to attract these offences.

Senior counsel Shyamsundar MS representing MRT Studios argued that the offending content was still not taken down from the handles of the Congress party.

The contempt of court itself was punishable by imprisonment and therefore bringing IPC jurisdiction in the complaint was valid.

He said no coercive action has been taken and the entire complaint and investigation is at a nascent stage. It was for the investigating officer to find out if the allegations are true.

After granting the stay on the proceedings in the criminal complaint, the High Court adjourned the hearing of the petition.

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