24 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Saregama India Limited vs. Next Radio Limited and Ors.

MANU/SC/0723/2021

27.09.2021

Intellectual Property Rights

Judicial re-writing of a statutory rule is unwarranted in the exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, particularly in interlocutory proceedings

Present appeals arise from an interim order of a Division Bench of the High Court in a batch of petitions. The writ petitions have been instituted before the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 to challenge the validity of Rule 29(4) of the Copyright Rules, 2013.

The High Court has, by its interim order, directed that, no copyrighted work may be broadcast in terms of Rule 29 of Rules without issuing a prior notice. Details pertaining to the broadcast, particularly the duration, time slots and the like, including the quantum of royalty payable may be furnished within fifteen days of the broadcast or performance. Compliance be effected with a modified regime of post facto, as opposed to prior compliance mandated by Rule 29(4) of Rules and the statutory mandate of a twenty four hour prior notice shall be substituted by a provision for compliance within fifteen days after the broadcast. The primary submission on behalf of the Appellants is that, the interim order of the High Court has the effect of re-writing Rule 29(4) of the Rules framed in pursuance of the provisions of Section 31D and Section 78(2)(cD) of the Copyright Act 1957.

A Constitution Bench of this Court in In Re: Expeditious Trial of Cases under Section 138 of NI Act 1881, has emphasized that, the judiciary cannot transgress into the domain of policy making by re-writing a statute, however strong the temptations maybe. An exercise of judicial re-drafting of Rule 29(4) was unwarranted, particularly at the interlocutory stage. The difficulties which have been expressed before the High Court by the broadcasters have warranted an early listing of the matter and this Court has been assured by the copyright owners that they would file their counter affidavits immediately so as to facilitate the expeditious disposal of the proceedings.

An exercise of judicial re-writing of a statutory rule is unwarranted in the exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, particularly in interlocutory proceedings. The High Court was also of the view that, the second proviso may be resorted to as a matter of routine, instead of as an exception and that the ex post facto reporting should be enlarged to a period of fifteen days (instead of a period of twenty four hours). Such an exercise was impermissible since it would substitute a statutory rule made in exercise of the power of delegated legislation with a new regime and provision which the High Court considers more practicable. The interim order of the High Court is set aside. Appeals allowed.

Tags : Rule Interim order Legality

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