The Bombay high court yesterday (August 23) stayed investigation by the Pune police till September 17, in offences registered against Sony Pictures and Applause Entertainment for displaying a logo in web series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, which resembles the trademark of a bank. The interim order, passed by a bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Nijamoodin Jamadar, was passed in a petition by Sony Pictures Network India Pvt. Ltd., owner of Sony Liv app which aired the web series, to quash the FIR registered in July, and a petition filed by Sameer Nair, CEO of Applause Entertainment which produced the series.

The complaint by Karad Urban Cooperative Bank alleged that in the series’ third episode, a logo in the background calendar resembles the bank’s trademark, causing damage to its “financial, commercial and social” reputation. Sony’s advocate argued that defamation was a non-cognisable offence and could not be investigated by the police on the basis of an FIR, that too by a police inspector when the law required investigation by an officer not below he rank of superintendent or equivalent.

The advocate for Sameer Nair reasoned, “It is a question of whether the FIR can be investigated at all.” He further explained that the web series did not come within the scope of the Act, and no offence was made out under it because the producers were not in the business of selling calendars.