Copyright

RTI applications seeking information regarding the Chairperson of the Copyright Board


Continuing with our mission to increase transparency and accountability at Indian intellectual property institutions, we have filed, with the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Copyright Division, Ministry of HRD, applications under the Right to Information Act, 2005 seeking information on the qualifications of the current Chairperson of the Copyright Board. We have filed two RTI applications with the CPIO of the Copyright Division seeking the following information:

First Application:
1.As per Section 11 of the Copyright Act, 1957, read along with Article 217(2) of the Constitution of India, is it necessary for the Chairperson of the Copyright Board to have been enrolled as an ‘Advocate’ as understood by the Advocates Act, 1961?
2.As per Section 11 of the Copyright Act, 1957 read along with Article 217(2) of the Constitution of India is it necessary for the Chairperson of the Copyright Board to have been a practicing advocate for a period of atleast 10 years before a High Court?
3.As per Section 11 of the Copyright Act, 1957, read along with Article 217(2) of the Constitution of India is it necessary for the Chairperson of the Copyright Board to have been below the age of 62 years at the time of his/her appointment?
4.What is the procedure by which the Central Government may remove the Chairperson of the Copyright Board from his post? In which enactment can this procedure be found?

Second Application:
1. Is the current Chairperson of the Copyright Board enrolled as an advocate with any of the State Bar Councils?
2. If the answer to the above question is ‘Yes’ then in that case please provide us with the following details of the current Chairperson’s enrolment: (a) year of enrolment (b) enrolment number (c) Bar Council with which the Chairperson is enrolled.
3. If the answer to question (1) is ‘Yes’ then in that case please also provide us with details as to whether the current Chairperson has been a practicing advocate in any of the High Court of the countries. The details that we require are: (a) years of practice (b) Names of High Courts or lower courts (c) years during which suspension from rolls of bar council was sought due to full time employment with Government of India or State Govt.
4. What is the birth date of the current Chairperson of the Copyright Board? Please provide the answer in the following format – day/month/year.
5. Was the current Chairperson of the Copyright Board above the age of 62 years when he was appointed as the Chairperson of the Copyright Board?
6. Has the current Chairperson ever held a ‘judicial office’ as understood in terms of Article 217(2)(a) of the Constitution of India? If the answer to this question is ‘Yes’ then in that case please provide us with details of such appointments.
7. Has the current Chairperson of the Copyright Board ever been the judge of a High Court?

Shamnad had initially raised this issue of the qualifications of the present Chairperson in this post dated 30th July, 2009. The initial concerns were whether or not the current chairperson was enrolled as an advocate and more importantly whether he was qualified to be appointed as Judge of the High Court, which is the minimum requirement as per Section 11 of the Copyright Act, 1957. Recently however we’ve had additional questions on whether the current Chairperson was of the requisite age when appointed to the position of Chairperson. As per information available to us the current Chairperson was born in the year 1940 and appointed as Chairperson of the Copyright Board in the year 2006 i.e. when he was 66 years. However as per Art. 217 of the Constitution of India a judge of the High Court has to necessarily retire at the age of 62 years. Since Art. 217 is the basic qualification laid down by Section 11 of the Copyright Board it would be unconstitutional to have appointed as Chairperson a person who is above the age of 62 years. Given the fact that the current Chairperson of the Board is part of a three member panel hearing the mega compulsory licensing dispute between copyright societies and radio stations it is of utmost importance that all questions pertaining to his qualifications be cleared right now so as to deny either party a chance to overturn the final decision of the Board.

In any case the aim of the RTI is to confirm the details received by us.

The applications have already been dispatched to the Copyright Division last week and we will update this blog once we receive the replies from the CPIO.

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Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).

2 comments.

  1. AvatarAnuj

    Prashant,
    Pardon me for my ignorance, but can u please clarify what is this “mega compulsory licensing dispute between copyright societies and radio stations” that you have referred to. Can you guide me to some post on it.
    Thanks

    Reply

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