Civil Appeal Nos. 10643-10644 of 2010 and C.A. No. 4912/2015 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 8253/2013). Case: Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd. Vs Sanjay Dalia and Ors.. Supreme Court

Case Number:Civil Appeal Nos. 10643-10644 of 2010 and C.A. No. 4912/2015 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 8253/2013)
Party Name:Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd. Vs Sanjay Dalia and Ors.
Counsel:For Appellant: Vikas Singh Jangra and K.V. Mohan, Advs. and For Respondents: Ankur Saigal, Mahesh Agarwal, Rishi Agrawala, E.C. Agrawala and Kaveeta Wadia, Advs.
Judges:J.S. Khehar and Arun Mishra, JJ.
Issue:Copyright Act, 1957 - Sections 62, 62(1), 62(2); Trade Marks Act, 1999 - Sections 134, 134(1), 134(2); Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act, 1976 - Section 1; Uttar Pradesh Bhoodan Yagna Act, 1953 - Section 14; Consumer Protection Act, 1986 - Section 17(2); Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) - ...
Citation:AIR 2015 SCW 5275
Judgement Date:July 01, 2015
Court:Supreme Court
 
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Judgment:

Arun Mishra, J.

1. Leave granted in SLP[C] No. 8253 of 2013.

2. In the appeals, the question arising for consideration is as to the interpretation of Section 62 of the Copyright Act, 1957 and Section 134(2) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 with regard to the place where a suit can be instituted by the Plaintiff.

3. The Plaintiff/Appellant in Civil Appeal Nos. 10643-44/2010 had filed a suit praying for relief against Defendant No. 1 so as to prevent infringement of the rights of the Plaintiff without obtaining the licence. The Defendant owns cinema halls in Maharashtra and Mumbai where infringement is alleged and the entire cause of action, as alleged in the plaint, has arisen in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

4. Civil Suit FAO (OS) No. 359/2007 has been filed in the High Court at Delhi, by virtue of the fact that the Branch Office of the Plaintiff is situated at Delhi and the Plaintiff is carrying on the business at Delhi. However, it is not disputed that the Plaintiff's Head Office is situated at Mumbai. The objection was raised by the Defendant with regard to the territorial jurisdiction of the court at Delhi. The single Bench and the Division Bench of the High Court have upheld the objection and held that the suit should have been filed in the facts of the case, in the court at Mumbai. Hence, the impugned order has been questioned in the appeals.

5. In Civil Appeal arising out of SLP [C] No. 8253/2013-(Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. and Anr. v. Just Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd.), the suit has been filed with respect to the infringement of the trademark. The registered office of "Vogue India" is in Mumbai. The magazine is processed and published in Mumbai. It was submitted that because the Plaintiff has branch office at Delhi, it had sufficient ground for invoking the jurisdiction Under Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act. The Plaintiff filed an application seeking an amendment in the plaint Under Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure so as to indicate how the court at Delhi would have the jurisdiction. The magazine is sold and circulated to the subscribers at Delhi. The application seeking amendment has also been dismissed by the High Court as even if allowed, amended pleadings would not confer jurisdiction upon the court. Merely situation of branch office is not enough as no cause of action as per the plaint, has arisen in Delhi. The Division Bench has allowed the appeal and set aside the order passed by the Single Bench, allowing the amendment. The said order has been impugned in SLP [C] No. 8253/2013.

6. It was submitted by Shri T.R. Andhiarujina, learned senior Counsel representing the Appellants, that a special right has been conferred Under Section 62(2) of the Copyright Act and Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act containing non-obstante clause to the applicability of the Code of Civil Procedure or any other law for the time being in force, and the Plaintiff has been conferred a right to file a suit where it carries on its business. That cannot be whittled down by combining with it the cause of action. The impediment of Section 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not applicable. Section 62(2) of the Copyright Act and Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act have no co-relation to the cause of action and suit can be filed where Plaintiff resides or carries on his business or personally works for gain. The interpretation made by the High Court is contrary to the aforesaid provisions. Convenience of the Defendant is not a relevant consideration. The binding decision of this Court in Exphar SA and Anr. v. Eupharma Laboratories Ltd. and Anr. [2004 (3) SCC 688] has been violated. The judgment has not been taken into consideration though it was decided earlier to the passing of the impugned decision. Reliance has also been placed on the decisions of this Court in Dhodha House v. S.K. Maingi [2006 (9) SCC 41], Dabur India Ltd. v. K.R. Industries [2008 (10) SCC 595] and various other decisions of the High Court of Delhi viz., Smithkline Beecham and Anr. v. Sunil Singhi and Anr. [2000 (1) PTC 321 (Del.)], Caterpillar Inc. v. Kailash Nichani and Ors. [2002 (24) PTC 405 (Del.)], Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Allergan Inc. [132 (2006) Delhi Law Times 641] to contend that under the aforesaid provisions accrual of cause of action wholly or in part is not necessary at a place where the Plaintiff chooses to file a suit where he is carrying on business.

7. On behalf of the applicants in C.A. Nos. 10643-44/2010, Mr. Sudhir Chandra, learned senior Counsel, submitted that while interpreting Section 62 of the Copyright Act and Section 134(2) of the Trademarks Act, the intention of Parliament is to be gathered from plain and natural meaning. Heydon's 'rule of mischief' is not attracted where the words of the statute are clear and unambiguous. There is no challenge to the vires of Section 62 of the Copyright Act. Thus, the court cannot invoke the doctrine of reading down the provisions. Section 62 of the Copyright Act is a special legislation and confers a special right on the Plaintiff where it carries on business or resides. Reading the Explanation to Section 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure into Section 62 will do violence to the Copyright Act. The requirement of cause of action or Explanation as to the corporation of Section 20 Code of Civil Procedure cannot be added to the aforesaid provisions. Facts of few cases cannot be considered so as to make interpretation of provisions. Interpretation of the statute is to be made de hors the facts of individual cases. The intention of legislation is also clear from the Parliamentary Debates and where the law has held the field for a long time it should not be unsettled. The decision in Dhodha House (supra) holds the field. As such, if a different interpretation is to be made, the case should be referred to a larger Bench of this Court. Non-obstante clause cannot be diluted.

8. On the other hand, on behalf of the Respondents, it was submitted that abuse of provisions of Section 62 of the Copyright Act and Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act cannot be permitted at the hands of multi-national corporations to harass the Defendant/s. With respect to the suit being filed by the Corporation, Section 20 is not inapplicable. 'Carrying on business' cannot be defined subjectively. Reliance has been placed upon Patel Roadways Ltd., Bombay v. Prasad Trading Co. [1991 (4) SCC 270]. The object of the Parliament behind enacting Section 62 of the Copyright Act and Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act has to be taken into consideration while interpreting the said provisions. The mischief rule of Heydon has been pressed into service so as to prevent harassment of the Defendants and abuse of the said provisions. Court is duty-bound to avoid disproportionate counter mischief while interpreting a provision. Public policy and convenience to parties have to be taken into consideration. The interpretation of provisions must be such so as to avoid hardship and absurdity. The decisions relied upon by the Appellants have been sought to be distinguished.

9. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 contains the provisions Under Section 20 with respect to institution of the suits where Defendant resides or cause of action arose. Section 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure reads thus:

Section 20-Other suits to be instituted where Defendants reside or cause of action arises.--Subject to the limitations aforesaid, every suit shall be instituted in a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction--

(a) the Defendant, or each of the Defendants where there are more than one, at the time of the commencement of the suit, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain; or

(b) any of the Defendants, where there are more than one, at the time of the commencement of the suit, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain, provided that in such case either the leave of the Court is given, or the Defendants who do not reside, or carry on business, or personally work for gain, as aforesaid, acquiesce in such institution; or

(c) the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.

[Explanation]: A corporation shall be deemed to carry on business at its sole or principal office in India or, in respect of any cause of action arising at any place where it has also a subordinate office, at such place.

10. In order to amend and consolidate the law relating to copyrights, the matter was referred to a Joint Committee. The Joint Committee of the Houses submitted the report which contained the object of the provisions of Section 62 is that many authors are deterred from instituting infringement proceedings because the court in which the proceedings are to be instituted are at a considerable distance from the place of their ordinary residence. Such impediments should be removed and the proceedings may be instituted in the local court where the person instituting the proceedings ordinarily resides, carries on business etc. Clause 61 of the Report of the said Committee is extracted below:

Clause 61 (Original Clause 65).--Sub-clause (2) of the original Clause 65 has been omitted and replaced by a new sub-clause. The Committee feels that the provisions of the original Sub-clause (2) would virtually make registration of copyright compulsory and would be an undue restriction on the owner of the copyright to exercise his rights. In the opinion of the Committee many authors are deterred from instituting infringement proceedings because the court in which such proceedings are to be instituted is situated at a considerable distance from the place of their ordinary residence. The Committee feels that this impediment should be removed and the new Sub-clause (2) accordingly provides that infringement proceedings may be instituted in the district court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the person instituting the proceedings ordinarily resides, carries on...

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