All India Reporter Supreme Court cases
Equivalent citations: AIR 1969 Bom 302, (1969) 71 BOMLR 409, 1969 CriLJ 1109
1. These five matters involve common points of law and hence would be disposed o f by a common judgment. The facts are mostly similar except for the slight difference in the allegation regarding certain acts committed by the accused which indicate the place of suing in respect of the offence concerned. These five matters arise out of five complaints filed by All India Reporter Limited, a Joint Stock Company, having kits branch office at Congress Nagar, Nagpur through Mr. D. V. Chitaley, Power of Attorney Agent, Nagpur. All the five criminal cases contain an allegation that the accused persons in the respective cases have infringed certain copyrights belonging to the complainant Company. Five different j works published by the accused persons are the subject-matter of the alleged infringement of copyrights. It is not necessary in this order of refer in detail to the names of the books written, printed and published by the accused persons. A brad fact that may be noted is that the accused persons in each case, except the criminal case which is the subject-matter of Criminal Reference No. 78 of 1967, contain the author or authors of the book, the Company or firm that published the book and the partners of the publishing f
2. The main question that was raise before the trail Magistrate by the accused persons by filing applications ins each of the cases was that the Criminal Court at Nagpur had no jurisdiction to entertain the complaints filed. This is because the authors as well as the partners of the firm that published the book were residents of Allahabad. The firm, which is required to be treated as Company for the purpose of the Copyright Act, 1957, has its registered office at Allahabad. The writing of the book and the publishing of it have taken place at Allahabad. Assuming for argument's sake, at this stage before merits are heard, that the copies which are produced for consideration of the Magistrate are infringing copies, no part of the offence is committed in Nagpur cannot entertain the complaints. So far as the Copyright Act, 1957 is concerned, there is a specific provision contained in Section 62 relating to the place of suing in civil proceeding. There is no specific provision in the Copyright Act, 1957 regarding the place of sung for the commission of a criminal offence. One has therefore, to go to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code for finding our whether the Nagpur Court could entertain the present complaints.
It is a moot point to consider whether an advertisement for sale in a journal amounts to "offer for sale" within the meaning of that expression as used in Section 51(b)(I) of the Copy right Act, 1957, and assuming that it is so, whether the "offer for sale" could be deemed to have been made at every place where a journal in which the advertisement is, given, is either published or reaches by way of circulation. this point of law is the main question that was debated before me though there was also ancillary question relating to the responsibility of the firms which are also made accuse as independently responsible to answer the charge of breach of copyright.
3. In the next two matter, namely, the reference to jurisdictional clause in the complaint is slightly different though it is almost identical in the two cases, for instance, in Criminal Reference No. 78 of 1967, the jurisdictional clause is paragraph No. 11. It is as follows;
"Para 11. The offer for sale is given by an advertisement in Law Journal at Nagpur. This court, therefore, has jurisdiction to try the offence".
4. In the next case, which is the subject-matter of Criminal Reference No. 84 of 1967, paragraph No. 11 relating to jurisdiction is as follows;
"The offer for sale of the infringing book is made by the accused in Nagpur and in Congress Nagar within the jurisdiction of this Court by their advertisement in 'the Rajasthan Law Weekly' dated 4-12-1965 and in a monthly magazine named 'Laws and Flaws' published by accused No. 1 in its issue dated 15-2-1966 . This Court therefore has jurisdiction to try the offence".
In respect of these paragraphs, what is to be remembered is that the publication alleged in Criminal Reference No. 78 of 1967 is in a Law Journal published at Nagpur. There is no specific reference in paragraph No. 11 of that case that all the accused have given that advertisement. It is vaguely stated that the 'offer for sale" is given by an advertisement in Law Journal and hence the court has jurisdiction. It is required to be assumed fro m the general tenor of that complaint that all the accused have given that advertisement. Whether that is so or not is a question of fact yet to be decided. No evidence has yet been led tin any of the cases. On a preliminary objection regarding jurisdiction being raised, all the five matters have come to this Court . It will be assumed for the purpose of this order that the complainant alleges that all the accused in each case have given the advertisement. This assumption is made only for the disposal of the point of law and the question of fact which is assumed is still at large. It is not only open but it is necessary for the Magistrate to find out the real position after the evidence is led. the findings to which he can come on fact will then have their won effects in view of the order that is being passed.