Bombay High Court Allows Mumbai Resident to Publish Marathi Translation of book of Mahatma Gandhi's Disciple

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The high court allowed the publication after observing that 120 days had elapsed since the public notice was issued and no one had objected to the same.

A single-judge bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Manish Pitale has recently allowed a Mumbai resident to produce and publish Marathi translation of the literary work “The Spirit's Pilgrimage” which is authored by Mahatma Gandhi’s disciple Madeleine Slade.

The single-judge bench allowed the plea under Section 32 of the Copyright Act and said that,

“This Court has considered the petition and the material on record. Section 32 of the said Act and Rule 32 of the said Rules set out specific requirements to be satisfied before such licence for translation can be granted. A perusal of the material on record shows that the aforementioned requirements are satisfied in the present case."

The book authored by the disciple of Gandhi was published in India in the year 1960 by Orient Longman Private Limited and in Britain by the publisher Longmans, Green & Co.

The counsel for the petitioner argued before the court that as per Rule 32 and Rule 33 framed under the Copyright Act the petitioner is ready to pay royalty and has satisfied all three conditions under Section 32 of the Act. The three conditions are as follows:

1. Work is published in India,

2. 7 years have elapsed after publication,

3. Application is made in Form IV.

The petitioner had informed the court that he had tried tracing the original publishers, but none of the publishers exist as of today. Further, the court was also informed that the petitioner found an abridged version of the said work which was translated by one Ranga Marathe and was published by Kirloskar Press. However, neither the translator nor the publisher exists today to pursue the matter, he had alleged.

The petitioner submitted before the court that the translation was not for private use or any commercial enterprise and had been done in the public interest.

Court noted that over 120 days had passed since the notices were published, and no one had raised any objections. Therefore,

Court decided that the petitioner could proceed with their request, as long as they promised to pay any owed royalties to the rightful owner by depositing the payment with the high court.

Case Title: Anil G Karkhanis vs Kirloskar Press