Mumbai: Even as the Gladrags Mega-Model Manhunt's final short-listed contestants are all set to hit the mega competition on April 12, the President of the Gladrags Beauty Pageant, Maureen Wadia is all set to take legal action against Pantaloons Femina Miss India Earth, Harshita Saxena.
"Harshita Saxena from Goa is a Gladrags model. She was a part of my Megamodel Contract in April 2006. Her contract has not expired and this girl has entered in some other contest before the contract has expired. The contract clearly says that they have to take my permission," Maureen says.
"Harshita has violated the rules and we will address this in proper legal manner. We have already set the legal wheels in motion," she adds.
It seems as the Miss India Earth will have to fight to retain her crown, but this time round, the battle will be in the courts.
CNN-IBN spoke to Maureen Wadia and this is what she had to say on the issue:
CNN-IBN: Can you elaborate on the nature of this contract? What does the contract exactly say?
Maureen Wadia: Basically whenever I organise a beauty pageant, those who enter into the contest sign a two-year contract with me. The models are not allowed to enter another beauty pageant, anything that is in direct competition with my contest.
CNN-IBN: When exactly did Harshita Saxena enter into this contract with you?
Maureen Wadia: She came off my stage on April 8, 2006 and she entered into a contract with me five to six weeks previous to that.
CNN-IBN: Did you just find out that Harshita Saxena had entered the Pantaloons Femina Miss India contest or did you know about it earlier?
Maureen Wadia: No, I had no inclination and no idea at all. I saw a bit of the show this week and I then realised that Harshita Saxena of Goa, who was in my contest in 2006 was one of the winners. I think she was in the third position as Femina Miss India Earth and was to represent India. I initiated legal proceedings the very next day.
CNN-IBN: Are you bringing up this issue now that she has won the contest?
Maureen Wadia: Not at all. Of the girls who had participated in my pagaent in 2006, she was not even in the top 15 contestants. This is basically about values and I am surprised people haven't gone according to procedure and checked into the background of the models.
CNN-IBN: Has anyone from Pantaloons got in touch with you after your statement on Tuesday?
Maureen Wadia: Yes I believe they have written me a letter today saying that they were not aware of this contract. I had written them a letter before that and so they must have replied to it, hence I got their letter today (Wednesday). I have already initiated legal proceedings because this is a confidentiality legal agreement.
CNN-IBN: What is this binding contract really that stops a young, aspiring model from participating in other pageants? She didn't win the Gladrags contest so why not give the young girl a chance at another platform?
Maureen Wadia: It's a confidentiality agreement. It's a totally legal agreement between two consenting parties. The idea of the contract is that these girls, over a period of two years are sent for various international contests. The relevance here is not about winning or losing. I think this is more a controvention of a legal issue.
CNN-IBN: Was the girl in question as some sort of a remuneration working in fashion shows along with Gladrags or possibly any other avenue to showcase her talent?
Maureen Wadia: It's all about your talent and how you market yourself. you can't simply just walk off a stage and expect to get thousands of contracts. It doesn't happen like that anywhere. This is a contest you enter into, it's a contract binding on both parties and I have put in a whole six weeks of training with the girl in question. She has trained under me and today she is a Gladrags product.
CNN-IBN: You have initiated legal proceedings against Miss Harshita Saxena. What is it that you are hoping to achieve?
Maureen Wadia: I am hoping to achieve nothing. It is a contract. I am not trying to be sensational. The business of beauty is a serious business and I think people should realise that. A contract is a contract. This is about something that I have taught these youngsters and I am deeply hurt Harshita and her parents should have done this and the organisers of Miss India should have been more careful. These things do happen, but when we get to know about such things, we have to put a stop to them.
CNN-IBN: Is this the flipside to the business of beauty? Do young models trying to make it big give such contracts the go by?
Maureen Wadia: Absolutely. I have had girls walk off my stage and two weeks later have them walk into other pageants in direct competition with mine and I don't like it. I have filed cases against some of the models before. It makes me really angry and very sad because you should know an obligation when you have one. It's extremely important to abide by the law and be correct. This is not about anything else. This is something that the girl was fully cognizant about. Walking off one stage where they are not doing well and going on to another has to discouraged and I don't encourage it at all.