The Supreme Court on Monday stayed an order from the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directing Yash Raj Films to pay Rs 10,000 along with litigation costs as compensation to a consumer who was aggrieved by the exclusion of a song in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Fan, Live Law reported.
The NCDRC had imposed the fine on YRF for “unfair trade practice” for releasing the popular song Jabra Fan in the movie promos of the 2016 film but not including it in the film itself. The commission had asked the production house to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 to the complainant Afreen Fatima Zaidi, along with a litigation cost of Rs 5,000.
Zaidi had complained that she felt “cheated” when she found out the song was not included in the film. She also claimed that her children refused to eat on the night they went to watch the film, as they were disappointed the song was not in it, the report stated.
Zaidi had originally filed her complaint in 2016. However, the district consumer redressal forum had rejected her complaint then. But she filed an appeal in 2017 and convinced the state consumer disputes redressal commission, whose findings were upheld by the NCDRC in 2020.
The commission was of the view that inclusion of a song in the promo of the movie when it is not actually a part of the movie deceives viewers and amounts to unfair trade practice, under Section 2(1)(r) of the Consumer Protection Act. The NCDRC had noted that if a person liked a song shown in the promo and based upon such liking decided to visit a cinema hall to watch the film, they were “bound to feel deceived, disappointed and dejected if the song shown in the promo is not found in the film.”
The production house had approached the Supreme court against the order, arguing that it was in violation of the right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1) and that there was no obligation to include the song, which was meant only for promotion of the movie, in the film itself.
“What scenes/songs/portions that the producer and the director finally choose to retain as part of the film, after editing, and what they finally present to the public, is their prerogative. Members of public cannot demand the story to be presented in a specific manner, suitable to their sensibilities,” YRF had argued.
The Supreme Court on Monday, after staying the order, issued notices to Zaidi and to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).