Chinmayi's dubbing union ban stayed: 'Relieved, but long battle ahead,' says singer

Chinmayi was terminated from the dubbing union last year after she supported women who spoke against its President Radha Ravi during the Me Too movement.
Chinmayi's dubbing union ban stayed: 'Relieved, but long battle ahead,' says singer
Chinmayi's dubbing union ban stayed: 'Relieved, but long battle ahead,' says singer
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Months after singer Chinmayi Sripaada was axed from South Indian Cine Television Artistes and Dubbing Artistes Union, a civil court in Chennai granted an interim stay on the ban. Chinmayi was removed from the Union shortly after she supported women who named Radha Ravi, President of the dubbing union, during the Me Too movement last year. She also accused lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual misconduct.

Now, in an order dated March 14, 2019, the court has granted the stay on her removal from the dubbing union, stating that the “petitioner would be put to irreparable loss and hardship” otherwise. The stay is, however, valid till March 25 which is the next date of hearing in the case.

Speaking to TNM about the order, Chinmayi said that she was relieved. “But this is temporary and this is going to be a pretty long legal battle. Radha Ravi is known for ensuring that those who go against the Union don’t get work even after they are reinstated. A couple of others have also stressed on this point that unless and until Radha Ravi allows, I won’t get work despite the legal order. But I hope to make it clear to producers that I have the order in place and this legally allows me to continue working in the dubbing industry,” she said.

Chinmayi tweeted about the development on Friday as well. She said, “I have been awarded an interim stay order by the Hon’ble Court regarding my ban from the Tamil Nadu dubbing union. It is a long legal battle ahead. Hope justice will prevail. Thank you.”

The order pointed out that the Union should have served Chinmayi a notice seeking explanation as to why she was not paying the membership fee, before sacking her on that ground in November 2018. The order adds that due to this, Chinmayi has undergone great mental and emotional stress.

The playback singer and dubbing artiste had filed a civil suit in February this year against the Union for firing her without giving her prior notice. Immediately after her termination, Union President Radha Ravi said that she was terminated because she had not paid her membership fee to the Union for the past two years.

However, this allegation was refuted by Chinmayi in a video released in November 2018, a week after Radha Ravi’s claim. In her video, she stated that she was a lifetime member of the union and had paid Rs 5,000 for lifetime membership in 2016. She added that though her name had featured on the list of members who were not permitted to vote in dubbing union elections in 2018 due to non-payment of annual fee, the Union has only terminated her and not the 96 others whose names were also allegedly there on the list.

In December last year, the Union told Chinmayi to pay Rs 1.5 lakh and submit an apology letter to be reinstated. To this, Chinmayi had retorted by saying that she had been working from 2006 and had to be a ‘new member’ of the Union. Moreover, the fee for new membership was Rs 2,500, she pointed out, questioning why she had to pay Rs 1.5 lakh and apologise.

Chinmayi was vocal in raising her voice in support of the Me Too movement last year and had supported women who had levelled allegations of harassment against veteran actor Radha Ravi as well as lyricist Vairamuthu. 

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