After a heated round of arguments between lawyers for publishers (senior counsel, Sudhir Chandra Agrawal and Pratibha Singh briefed by Sai Krishna Associates) versus lawyers for DU (Saurabh Banerjee), Rameshwari Photocopiers, ASEAK, a society of students (senior counsel Anup Bhambhani, a nuclear physicist turned lawyer, briefed by Jawhar Raja), SPEAK, the society of academics (senior counsel Dayan Krishnan briefed by Swathi Sukumar), the judge refused to grant any injunction against Rameshwari. For background to this appeal including a copy of the appeal, see our earlier post here.
After the judges (Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Pratibha Rani) admitted the appeal and said they would hear arguments on November 29th, lawyers for the publishers whipped out a course pack allegedly made by Rameshwari around May 2016, saying it violated the earlier restraining order. This course pack was never produced earlier or served on any of the defendants. Rather, it was suddenly thrust last minute upon the court and the parties, after the next date for hearing had been announced by the judge and after SPEAK’s counsel Dayan Krishnan had left the court room. Thankfully the judge did not budge and said that he would hear all arguments on merit on the 29th. He refused to grant an injunction (restraining order) against Rameshwari or hold that the trial judge’s (Justice Endlaw) order had no legal effect (something that plaintiffs’ counsels forcefully argued for).
Justice Nandrajog however asked Rameshwari to maintain accounts in relation to all the course packs it makes in the interim.
Kudos to the judge for a very fair order! And for refusing to grant a restraining order on the basis of a random document whipped up the last minute, whose authenticity had yet to be tested. The next date for hearing is the 29th of November, when one can expect more legal drama. Till then, educational access trumps! And students and universities can pursue their education to the fullest extent without the threat of copyright cops breathing down their neck!