Jharkhand High Court charges FIR against Ranchi man arrested over Ex-CM Raghubar Das’ ‘Mirchi lagi’ parody video

SUMAN K SHRIVASTAVA

Ranchi, July 27: The Jharkhand High Court has quashed the criminal case against Sarvaprit Singh, who was arrested in 2018 for posting a 32-second music video featuring the popular Hindi film song ‘Tujhko mirchi lagi to main kya karoon’ , a photo of Mentos, the advertisement for the mouth fresheners, and a short video of then Chief Minister Raghubar Das making a statement to the Jharkhand Assembly.

A single bench of Judge Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, in a judgment delivered on July 22, observed that there was a mixture of Mentos commercial with a well-known Hindi movie song in the said video. “In looking at the assertion made in the complaint, with respect to Penal Sections 419, 420, 468, 500, 505 of the Indian Penal Code, the ingredients of these sections are not established against the petitioner,” the court observed. .

The high court also said knowledge by the lower court is also not within the law. “The evidence against the petitioner is not disclosed in the contested order. To peruse it is not necessary to pass a detailed order, but what are the prima facie evidence against the defendant that must be disclosed in the knowledge order, which is lacking in the current case,” Judge Dwivedi observed.

The court said that Section 419 of the Indian Penal Code speaks of punishment for cheating by impersonation, the ingredient of which is not established against the petitioner by reading the entire complaint.

“Similarly, a case under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code has not been established,” the court said. The court also dismissed charges against him under the Trademark Act, Copyright Act

“On reading subsection (1)(l) of Section 52 of the Copyright Act, it is clear that for the literary, dramatic or musical works of a club or amateur society, copyright law does not apply,” the court observed. .

Notably, Sarvaprit Singh had been arrested by Ranchi Police on April 3, 2018 based on a complaint filed by Perfetti Van Melle India Limited, makers of Mentos mints, whose advertising campaign inspired his parody video.

Singh – who runs an internship portal and another dealing with digital signatures as well as a digital studio – had posted the 32-second video to his blog, Made in Ranchi, his Twitter handle @madeinranchi and his Facebook page on April 1. . .

The clip showed footage of Raghubar Das shouting “…, mircha lag raha hain” [colloquially, ”you are feeling jealous”] juxtaposed with images of a Bollywood movie song with the lyrics “mirchi lagi” (to feel jealous). In between, the video plays voiceovers from the Mentos ad.

The charges against Singh included cheating, impersonation, fraud, public mischief and defamation under the Indian Penal Code as well as under the Copyright Act, the trademarks and information technology law.

In the complaint to the police, Perfetti Van Melle India mentioned infringement of its trademark and copyright. He also said that the defendant was seeking to ‘disparage and disparage the honorable and respectable Chief Minister and other political dignitaries of the state of Jharkhand’.

Singh’s lawyer, Pandey Neeraj Rai, however, argued that the opinion was taken without considering whether the ingredients are established against the petitioner or not. He further argued that in the absence of any legal evidence, knowledge was taken against the petitioner.

He also claimed that the video was uploaded in a lighter sense on 01.04.2018. “There was nothing to damage the reputation of the senior brass. He further contended that said video was not for commercial purposes and that it is true that the product was not used for commercial or advertising purposes and therefore there is no ingredient under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, Sections 103 and 105 of the Trade Marks Act and Section 66(C) and 66(D) of the Information Technology Act against the petitioner.

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