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Legal Melody: Madras High Court Judge Steps Away from Ilayaraja’s Copyright Case

Madras High Court judge backs away from Ilayaraaja copyright case due to prior involvement. In a recent development, Madras High Court judge Justice R Subramanian has recused himself from presiding over an appeal suit brought forth by Echo Recording Private Limited. The appeal aims to overturn a court order concerning a copyright dispute surrounding the musical creations of renowned composer Ilayaraaja.

During the proceedings, Justice Subramanian disclosed his prior involvement in a related civil suit while practising as a lawyer, citing it as the reason for his recusal from the case. Consequently, the bench directed the court registry to forward the case records to the Chief Justice for reassignment to a different bench.

Representing the appellant, Echo Recording, senior counsel Vijay Narayan contested the second part of an order issued by Justice Anita Sumanth on 4 June 2019. This order stemmed from a suit initiated by Ilayaraaja, asserting absolute rights over his musical compositions and prohibiting music companies from exploiting his works.

The petition seeks to annul the portion of the single judge’s order granting relief to the plaintiff, asserting Ilayaraaja’s entitlement to special and moral rights under Section 57 of the Copyright Act pertaining to the musical compositions on which the disputed sound recordings are based.

 The current development in the Ilayaraaja copyright dispute case is seen by our experts as a significant turn of events, and the proceedings have become more complex due to Justice R Subramanian’s recusal. His ruling emphasises the value of judicial impartiality and integrity as well as the need for the legal profession to uphold ethical norms. 

The order to transfer the case to a new bench guarantees the adjudication process’s impartiality and openness. The challenge by Echo Recording against Justice Anita Sumanth’s order presents important issues for the interpretation and implementation of copyright law, especially with regard to the extent of rights provided to creators under Section 57 of the Copyright Act. You can reach out to Vakilsearch for copyright registration and related issues.  

Akash G Varadaraj