M/S Knit Pro International vs The State Of Nct Of Delhi on 20 May, 2022


Try out our Premium Member services: Virtual Legal Assistant, Query Alert Service and an ad-free experience. Free for one month and pay only if you like it.

Supreme Court of India

M/S Knit Pro International vs The State Of Nct Of Delhi on 20 May, 2022

Author: M.R. Shah

Bench: M.R. Shah, B.V. Nagarathna

                                                                      REPORTABLE

                                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                 CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 807 of 2022


                      M/s Knit Pro International                      ...Appellant


                                                   Versus


                      The State of NCT of Delhi & Anr.               ...Respondents

                                            JUDGMENT

M. R. Shah, J.

1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned

judgment and order dated 25.11.2019 passed by the High

Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Writ Petition (Crl.) No.3422 of

2018 by which the High Court has allowed the said writ

petition and has quashed the FIR bearing No.431 of 2018 filed

against the respondents for the offences under Sections 63

and 65 of the Copyright Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as

‘Copyright Act’), the original complainant has preferred to the
Signature Not Verified

present appeal.

Digitally signed by
Jatinder Kaur
Date: 2022.05.20
17:14:34 IST
Reason:

1

2. That the appellant herein filed an application under

Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. and sought directions from the learned

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate for the registration of FIR

against the respondent No.2 herein for the offences under

Sections 51, 63 & 64 of the Copyright Act read with Section

420 of the IPC. By order dated 23.10.2018, the learned CMM

allowed the said application and directed the concerned SHO

to register the FIR under the appropriate provision of law.

That pursuant to the said order, FIR bearing No.431 of 2018

came to be registered with PS Bawana. That thereafter

respondent no.2 herein – original accused filed the present

petition before the High Court with a prayer to quash the

criminal proceedings on various grounds. However, at the

time of hearing, the original writ petitioner – accused prayed

to quash the criminal proceedings on the sole ground that the

offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act is not a

cognizable and a non­bailable offence.

2.1 By the impugned judgment and order the High Court has

allowed the said writ petition and has quashed the criminal

proceedings and the order passed by the learned CMM passed

2
in Criminal Application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. by

holding that the offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act

is a non­cognizable offence.

3. Mr. R.K. Tarun, learned counsel appearing on behalf of

the appellant has vehemently submitted that the High Court

has committed a grave error in observing and holding that the

offence punishable under Section 63 of the Copyright Act is a

non­cognizable offence and it does not fall within Part II of the

First Schedule of the Cr.P.C.

3.1 It is submitted that while holding that the offence under

Section 63 of the Copyright Act is a non­cognizable offence,

the High Court has not properly appreciated the decision of

this Court in the case of Rakesh Kumar Paul vs. State of

Assam, (2017) 15 SCC 67 and has misinterpreted the said

judgment.

3.2 It is submitted that in the case of Intelligence Officer,

Narcotics Control Bureau vs. Sambhu Sonkar, AIR 2001

SC 830, it is specifically observed and held by this Court that

the maximum term of imprisonment that is prescribed for the

3
said offence, cannot be excluded for the purpose of

classification of the offence.

3.3 It is submitted by learned counsel for the appellant that

for the offences under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, the

punishment shall be imprisonment for a term which shall not

be less than six months but which may extend to three years.

It is submitted that therefore the punishment of three years

can be imposed for the said offence. It is submitted therefore

that Part II of the First Schedule of the Cr.P.C. would be

applicable. It is submitted that only in a case where the

offence punishable with imprisonment for less than three

years or with fine only offence shall be non­cognizable. It is

submitted that as per Part II of the First Schedule of the

Cr.P.C,. if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for

three years and upwards but not less than 7 years, the offence

would be cognizable. It is submitted that in that view of the

matter the High Court has committed a grave error in

quashing the FIR while holding that the offence under Section

63 of the Copyright Act is a non­cognizable offence.

4

4. Present appeal is vehemently opposed by Shri

Siddhartha Dave, learned Senior Advocate appearing on

behalf of respondent no.2.

4.1 Shri Dave, learned Senior Counsel has heavily relied

upon the decision of this Court in the case of Rakesh Kumar

Paul (supra). It is submitted that in the aforesaid decision the

expression “not less than 10 years” has been interpreted by

this Court and it is held that the said expression would mean

punishment should be 10 years and therefore, Section 167(2)

(a)(i) would apply. It is submitted that in that view of the

matter the High Court has not committed any error in holding

that the offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act is a

non­cognizable offence.

4.2 In the alternative, it is prayed by Shri Dave learned

Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of respondent no.2 that if

this Court holds that the offence under Section 63 of the

Copyright Act is a cognizable offence, in that case, the matter

may be remanded to the High Court to decide the writ petition

on merits on other grounds, as no other grounds were pressed

into service.

5

5. We have heard learned counsel for the respective parties

at length.

5.1 The short question which is posed for consideration

before this Court is, whether, the offence under Section 63 of

the Copyright Act is a cognizable offence as considered by the

Trial Court or a non­cognizable offence as observed and held

by the High Court.

5.2 While answering the aforesaid question Section 63 of the

Copyright Act and Part II of the First Schedule of the Cr.P.C.

are required to be referred to and the same are as under:

“63. Offence of infringement of copyright or
other rights conferred by this Act. ­ Any person who
knowingly infringes or abets the infringement of­

(a) the copyright in a work, or

(b) any other right conferred by this Act, except
the right conferred by section 53A except the right
conferred by section 53A shall be punishable with
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than
six months but which may extend to three years and
with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand
rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees:
Provided that where the infringement has not been
made for gain in the course of trade or business the
court may, for adequate and special reasons to be
mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of
imprisonment for a term of less than six months or a
fine of less than fifty thousand rupees.

6

Explanation ­ Construction of a building or other
structure which infringes or which, if completed, would
infringe the copyright in some other work shall not be
an offence under this section.”

II – CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCES AGAINST OTHER LAWS

Offence Cognizable or Bailable or By what
non­cognizable non­ court triable
cognizable
If punishable Cognizable Non­bailable Court of
with death, Session
imprisonment
for life, or
imprisonment
for more than
7 years

If punishable Cognizable Non­bailable Magistrate of
with the first class
imprisonment
for 3 years
and upwards
but not more
than 7 years.

If punishable    Non­cognizable         Bailable        Any
with                                                  Magistrate
imprisonment
for less than
3 years or
with      fine
only.




5.3 Thus, for the offence under Section 63 of the Copyright

Act, the punishment provided is imprisonment for a term

which shall not be less than six months but which may

extend to three years and with fine. Therefore, the maximum

7
punishment which can be imposed would be three years.

Therefore, the learned Magistrate may sentence the accused

for a period of three years also. In that view of the matter

considering Part II of the First Schedule of the Cr.P.C., if the

offence is punishable with imprisonment for three years and

onwards but not more than seven years the offence is a

cognizable offence. Only in a case where the offence is

punishable for imprisonment for less than three years or with

fine only the offence can be said to be non­cognizable. In view

of the above clear position of law, the decision in the case of

Rakesh Kumar Paul (supra) relied upon by learned counsel

appearing on behalf of respondent no.2 shall not be applicable

to the facts of the case on hand. The language of the

provision in Part II of First Schedule is very clear and there is

no ambiguity whatsoever.

6. Under the circumstances the High Court has committed

a grave error in holding that the offence under Section 63 of

the Copyright Act is a non­cognizable offence. Thereby the

High Court has committed a grave error in quashing and

setting aside the criminal proceedings and the FIR. Therefore,

the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court

8
quashing and setting aside the criminal proceedings/FIR

under Section 63 of the Copyright Act deserves to be quashed

and set aside.

7. In view of the above discussion and for the reason stated

above, it is observed and held that offence under Section 63 of

the Copyright Act is a cognizable and non­bailable offence.

Consequently, the impugned judgment and order passed by

the High Court taking a contrary view is hereby quashed and

set aside and the criminal proceedings against respondent

no.2 for the offence under Sections 63 & 64 of the Copyright

Act now shall be proceeded further in accordance with law

and on its own merits treating the same as a cognizable and

non­bailable offence.

Present appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent.

However, in the facts and circumstances of the case there

shall be no order as to costs.

…………………………………J.

(M. R. SHAH)

…………………………………J.

(B.V. NAGARATHNA)
New Delhi,
May 20, 2022.

9



Source link