DU Photocopy Review: The Melody of Justice

In an earlier post, we’d highlighted how an unfortunate grammatical construct led to an order against Delhi University (DU) and Rameshwari Photocopy. 

While the restraining order was directed effectively only against Rameshwari, the alleged “admissions”/”undertakings” of DU to the affect that they would not commit any infringing acts complained of by the plaintiffs in the suit were recorded in the order. 

Aggrieved by this recordal, DU approached an appellate bench of the Delhi High Court consisting of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Manmohan SIngh.

Both are authors of renowned IP judgments, with Justice Nandrajog displaying a fair amount of literary (and philosophical) flair too. Sample his judgment in IPRS v. Aditya Pandey & CRI Events:

“It is but natural that in a song, the words and  the music have a special relationship. Words affect the melodic line, even the rhythmic structure. The inflection of the language in the lyrics leaves an imprint on the melody and the rhythm; on style and phrasing. When a song is sung there is a moving romance between the words and the music….

Sadly, in the DU photocopy case, there is, as yet, no moving romance; an  unfortunate construction of words resulted in a not so melodic injunction.

While dismissing the appeal as infructuous, Justice Nandrajog and SIngh asked DU to return to the single judge and clarify the scope of their alleged admission/undertaking. I extract the text of the order below:

“1. The tenor of the ad interim order dated October 17, 2012 pending disposal of IA No.14632/2012 filed by respondent No.1 under Order 39 Rules 1 and 2 CPC would suggest that the same is a consent order.
2. A perusal of the grounds urged in appeal would reveal that the grievance of the appellant pertains to the appellant?s understanding of the consent order and as reflected in the order dated October 17, 2012, i.e., a hiatus between what was intended to be conceded to and what ultimately got reflected.
3. Under the circumstances we feel that the appellant would be advised to move an application before the learned Single Judge who passed the order dated October 17, 2012 clarifying the span of the consent which the appellant intended to convey.
4. Needless to state that if such an application is filed, the learned Single Judge will decide the same as per law and preferably before the ensuing winter vacation for the reason the clarification which the appellant intends to seek relates to its course material and would be directly relatable to the current academic year/session and would affect
the academic studies of the students of the University.
5. So observing the appeal is permitted to be withdrawn without there being any order as to costs.”
And so the battle for access to education continues. Will our students finally see some melody in the law? Or will they continue to face the present music? Only time will tell. 

Shamnad Basheer

Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He's also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof. Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Prof. Basheer joined Anand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Later, he was the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and also a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. Prof. Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP, the Stanford Technology Law Review and CREATe. He was consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also served on several government committees.

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