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The Right Invested In Intellectual Property Remains With The Person Even If He Has Announced Renunciation : The Delhi High Court In The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust India

Esha Goyal ,
  16 May 2024       Share Bookmark

Court :
High Court Of New Delhi
Brief :

Citation :
Criminal Appeal No(S). 55 Of 2015

Case title:

The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust India V.s Www.Friendwithbooks. Co

Date of Order (Pronounced on):

05th April, 2024 


Hon'ble Justice Anish Dayal 


Plaintiff-  The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust India

Defendant -   Www.Friendwithbooks. Co


The case provides insight for seeking summary judgment for the case. The plaintiff seeking so is a renowned religious Trust and the main issue was discussed with the Copyright entitlement of someone who has attained renunciation from the world. 



  • The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust India is registered under The Bombay Trust Act, involved in the printing, publishing, and distribution of literature of Srila Prabhupada who is also a settlor and author of the Trust. 
  • Being a spiritual teacher and Vedic Scholar, he was involved in delivering speeches and created “ISKCON” devoted to the services of Lord Krishna which was registered as a Trust in 1971.
  • Being among the first three Trustees, The recitals of the Trust deed, the settlor was entitled to copyright and the rights of his writing in consonance with the Trust deed.
  • The teachings, speeches and other works of the Vedic Scholar were converted into successful book publications after his death. 
  • The issue arose when the copies of the books disseminated by the defendant infringed the copyright invested with the plaintiff for which the defendants were not given any authority.  
  • The plaintiff filed for a permanent injunction under Section 14 (a) of The Copyright Infringement Act, 1957 with the intent of not providing any authority to the third party including the defendant for the said act.
  • In consideration of the case, the plaintiff successfully files an interim injunction disabling the defendant and his agent to commit an act leading to infringing of the copyright.


  1. Whether the rights of the copyright subsist with the Sanyasi or person announcing renunciation?
  2. Whether the Property rights are given to the person who announces his renunciation?
  3. Whether the Plaintiff have the right to own the Copyright which subsists of the subject work?


  • The counsel on behalf of the plaintiff stated that there is no statutory enactment which limits the sage to have private property including his rights in intellectual property.
  • The Vedic scholar did not have any successor after his death and the law of the land is silent about the legal position of after such renunciation. 
  • On finding its reliance on the Swami Dr. Kishore Dass Ji v. State and Anr [2012 SCC OnLine Del 3903] the right to bequeath his possession by sanyasi as he is not restricted to own the property. 
  • On consideration of Sections 18 &19 of the Act, the assignment rights were bestowed to the Plaintiff Trust. 
  • The provisions of the Copyright adjudicate the right of the owner and the same shall be visited for the reference as held in Sulamangalam R. Jayalakshmi and Anr. V. Meta Musicals & Ors, [2000 3 LW 38]. It was thus mantained that the individual who has attained does have the right as per the Copyright enactment.


The counsel representing the Defendant opposed the status of the saint on monastic order stating that he cannot be termed as sanyasi and hence discussing about transmission of the rights is out of question. It was also contended that there was no such bar prescribed by the law for such renunciation.


  • The Court observed in the essence of this case made the following observation 
  • Due to the absence of a legal framework, the decision was solely considered a judicial determination.
  • The terminology “renunciation” was considered akin to relinquishment.
  • The Copyright Act has prescribed a procedure for relinquishment. Although the laws do not speak anything about sanyasi, The fact of that Srila Prabhupada has assigned his rights to the Trust in this case for a lifetime. 
  • The necessity of procuring assignments has also been fulfilled under the Act by Sections 18 and 19. 
  • On the discussion of Property rights in terms of self-stated renunciation, the law continues to be silent there. 
  • The decision of Swami Gurudev Muni Chela Sant Sewa Dass Ji v. State, [2015 SCC OnLine] was upheld in this case to the insight into the presumption of law about the ownership where the law was silent.
  • The relinquishment and civil death of a person does not limit his ability to hold the property which was considered as per the case of Shri Krishna Singh v. Mathura Ahir, [(1981) 3 SCC 689]
  • The submissions of the Plaintiff were considered in this case with relation to Section 17 of the Act which establishes that the right can be extinguished through mode which the law knows. In this case, the rights of the assignment are given to the Plaintiff.


The preservation of identity is something which the Creator seeks and the rights guaranteed for Intellectual Property ensure that these rights are not discarded. Identifying that the Creator strives even after renunciation, the case positively curbs the pragmatics of the creative interest. Judicial discretion caters its better side to the conclusion while analyzing the problem at hand sticking to the core roots of interpretation using its tools wherein the area of law is yet to be considered. While the status of renunciation may have its different status but it does not diminish the right to alienate their property. The right of relinquishment of the property to be done with the methodology of law is what was emphasised in this case concerning the plaintiff to preserve its interest against the others.

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