The Delhi High Court has permitted Super Cassettes Industries Pvt. Ltd. and Saregama India Ltd. to intervene in the suits filed by The Indian Singers’ Rights Association (ISRA) against several hotels and restaurants in Delhi for allegedly violating its performers rights.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, however, directed Super Cassettes and Saregama to just file an affidavit at this stage, along with documents setting up their contentions on the legal issues which arise. After the decision on the said legal issues, the Court will consider whether they should be impleaded as defendants to the suits.
ISRA has instituted the suit contending that the restaurants have been playing music without obtaining the necessary clearance or payment of royalty. It represents 282 artistes, including Lata Mangeshkar, Sonu Nigam, Arijit Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan and Kailash Kher.
During a recent hearing, ISRA vehemently opposed the impleadment of the two parties, asserting that they may be heard on legal issues only but should not be allowed to participate in the suits.
Considering these submissions, the Court opined, “I am of the view that for considering and adjudicating the legal question which arises as aforesaid and for further considering and adjudicating, what are the rights of the members of the plaintiff; whether the rights of the members of the plaintiff are only in the voice which alone they contribute; and, whether rights also subsist when the said voice is only a part of the performance comprising of several other elements not performed by the said members and in which the members of the plaintiff do not have any right, etc. the presence of Super Cassettes Industries Pvt. Ltd. and Saregama India Ltd. which appear to controvert the rights claimed/asserted by plaintiff in these suits, is essential.”
The Court was then informed by ISRA that several similar suits are pending at different stages before different Benches of the Court. In view of this submission, the Court directed, “…subject to orders of Hon’ble the Chief Justice, list these suits as well as other suits / proceedings aforesaid, before the same bench, on 22nd March, 2018.”