Karnataka HC directs state to pay up for film made for Global Investors’ Meet
The production house was hired to showcase the state of Karnataka through a fiveminute 3D film at the three-day Global Investors’ Meet (GIM) held in November 2022 in Bengaluru.
Published: 27th January 2023 06:43 AM | Last Updated: 27th January 2023 06:43 AM | A+A A-
BENGALURU: Quashing a cryptic communication issued at the behest of Minister for Industries and Commerce Murugesh R Nirani to cancel a contract of around Rs 4 crore given to a Mumbai-based film production house BBP Studio Virtual Bharat Private Limited, the Karnataka High Court directed the state government to release the balance payment.
The production house was hired to showcase the state of Karnataka through a five-minute 3D film at the three-day Global Investors’ Meet (GIM) held in November 2022 in Bengaluru. On October 21, 2022, Nirani communicated that the petitioner’s proposal was too high and was not needed, and directed that the contract be cancelled. This was almost three months after the work order was issued.
Meanwhile, Rs 1.5 crore had been released as advance. The state did not permit the petitioner to display the film at the GIM. Allowing partly the petition filed by the film production house questioning the communication dated October 25, 2022, issued by Marketing Communication and Advertising Limited to cancel the contract, Justice M Nagaprasanna noted,
“The court would be empowered to grant relief and not relegate such a petitioner to approach the civil court or direct the petitioner-aggrieved person to explore arbitration for redressal of his grievance, as Article 14 is that golden thread that is woven through the entire fabric of the Constitution of India, and every bead of State action should pass through that golden thread.
The action of the State cannot be arbitrary.” The contract was awarded in favour of the petitioner, who took the work to its logical conclusion. Just before delivery of the final product, the contract was cancelled, not on merit/quality of the film, but on political interference. This becomes a classic case where arbitrariness is writ large, the court added.