How can copyright exist on an unpublished biography, Delhi HC asks martyr’s family

The family members of Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, who was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for gallantry, have been opposing the making of a film about him, saying the story was a violation of copyright as well as breach of their privacy.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: February 14, 2018 3:58:09 pm
Soldier biopic, Indian Army soldier biopic, martyr biopic, martyr family, Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, India news, indian Express news Delhi High Court (Express photo/File)

How can copyright exist on the unpublished life story of an individual, even if he is a war hero, the Delhi High Court has asked the family of a 1962 Sino-Indian war martyr based on whom a biopic is being produced.

The family members of Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, who was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for gallantry, have been opposing the making of a film about him, saying the story was a violation of copyright as well as breach of their privacy.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru, before whom the matter was listed for hearing, said as there was no published work or material on the war hero’s life, the Copyright Act would not apply. Rawat was martyred during the war in 1962.

“How can there be any copyright on an unpublished work, even if it is a life story of a war hero,” the court said.

It, however, listed the matter for further hearing on February 21, when the petitioner, the brother of the war hero, has to show what right he has to demand that the biopic should not be filmed.

The rifleman’s brother, Vijay Singh Rawat, has contended that the family’s consent was neither taken, nor was the film script provided to them or the central government which had asked for it.

A PIL was earlier moved in the high court seeking that the shooting of the film be stopped as a rape accused, out on bail, was portraying the role of the Army hero who was a rifleman in the 4 Garhwal Rifles.

The PIL had claimed that rifleman Rawat had single-handedly prevented the Chinese army for three days from over-running his post during the 1962 Sino-Indian war, before he was killed on November 17, 1962. For his gallantry, he was still being honoured with promotions, the most recent one being of a Major General.

The plea said that the post which he had defended against the Chinese Army is now named as Jaswant Garh and there is a room nearby where his personal belongings are still kept safe.

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