The Karnataka High Court on Friday stayed the investigation in a First Information Report (FIR) against Congress members Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh and Supriya Shrinate in a copyright infringement case against them for the unauthorised use of music from KGF Chapter 2 during the Bharat Jodo Yatra campaign. [Jairam Ramesh v State of Karnataka].
Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav granted Gandhi and the others interim protection, while directing the State to file its response to their petition.
“The interim order would be in operation till the next date of hearing. The respondents are at liberty to seek for modification/vacation of the interim order, upon filing of statement of objections. Learned HCGP is directed to accept notice for the respondent No.1,” the order directed.
According to the complainant, MRT Music, the video for the Bharat Jodo Yatra which has been created for the purpose of mass circulation on social media platforms, used popular sound recordings owned and held by them.
They claim that as per the video, it was clear that the accused had fraudulently used the recordings with an intention to make wrongful gains.
MRT had earlier filed a copyright infringement suit as well as a criminal complaint, on the basis of which a first information report (FIR) was registered.
On November 7, while hearing the copyright suit, an Additional City Civil & Sessions Judge at Bengaluru ordered a local commissioner to visit the Congress party website, conduct an electronic audit and preserve the infringing materials available on their social media. The judge also granted an injunction in favour of MRT.
This order was immediately challenged before the High Court on November 8 by the Congress.
The High Court had directed the party to remove the offending content from its social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
“Order impugned is set aside subject to the appellant (Congress party) removing content from all social media platforms,” the Court has said.
Earlier this month, MRT informed the High Court that the content was still on the Congress party’s social media handles. Therefore, it moved a contempt plea stating that the accused leaders have not complied with the order of the High Court.
“It is respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble High Court may be pleased to initiate appropriate action and/or proceedings for wilful disobedience and breach of the order dated 08th of November, 2022,” the plea read.
The Court then proceeded to issue notice to the Congress party. This contempt petition will be heard next on January 12, 2023.