Reached Daily Limit?

Explore a new way of legal research!

Click Here
Indian Case Summary

Amar Nath Sehgal vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Anr. on 21 February, 2005 – Case Summary

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In the case of Amar Nath Sehgal vs Union Of India (UOI) And Anr. on 21 February, 2005, the Delhi High Court dealt with a significant issue concerning the moral rights of an artist under the Copyright Act, 1957. The case revolved around the rights of the plaintiff, Amar Nath Sehgal, a renowned sculptor, and his bronze mural sculpture that was commissioned by the Government of India and installed at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

Facts of the Case

In 1957, Amar Nath Sehgal was commissioned by the Government of India to create a bronze mural for Vigyan Bhawan, a hub for international and national conferences. The mural, spanning 140 feet and sweeping 40 feet, was a delicate balance between the cultural and material aspects of India, reflecting the nation’s cultural heritage. However, in 1979, the mural was removed without Sehgal’s permission and stored away, leading to its damage and mutilation.

Issues Raised

Sehgal filed a suit against the Union of India, claiming that his moral rights, as defined under Section 57 of the Copyright Act, 1957, were violated. He sought a declaration to this effect, an apology from the defendants, a permanent injunction to prevent further distortion or damage to his mural, damages for humiliation and loss of reputation, and a decree for the return of the mural for restoration at the defendants’ cost.

Court’s Observations and Decision

The court observed that the moral rights of an author are the soul of his works and that an author has a right to preserve, protect, and nurture his creations through his moral rights. It noted that these rights are significant because they continue to be vested in the author even after he has parted with his economic rights in his work.

The court held that the suit was within the limitation period, as the defendants had expressed willingness to restore the mural as late as 6.6.1991, but did not put their commitment into action. The court also held that the plaintiff’s moral rights under Section 57 of the Copyright Act, 1957, were violated by the defendants. It was observed that the removal, storage, and damage of the mural were prejudicial to the honor and reputation of the plaintiff.

The court ruled in favor of Sehgal, recognizing his moral rights over the mural. It held that the defendants had violated these rights by removing and damaging the mural without his permission. The court ordered the defendants to return the mural to Sehgal for restoration and to pay him compensation for the damage caused.

This case is significant as it underscores the importance of an artist’s moral rights over his creations, even after he has transferred his economic rights. It emphasizes the need to respect and protect these rights to ensure the preservation of an artist’s honor and reputation.