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Architects Possess No Right to Object Demolition

Architects Possess No Right to Object Demolition

The architects are toiling up to protect their creativities. Recently the Delhi High Court held that an architect of a building/structure has no right under Section 57 of the Copyright Act to object to the demolition of his/her work or to claim any damages.

Raj Rewal, a leading Indian architect filed a suit seeking a mandatory injunction against Union of India and Indian Trade Promotion Organization to compensate the plaintiff by recreating the work of architecture of Hall of Nation and Nehru Pavilion at the same location. The case is in connection with the demolition of the Hall of Nations and Nehru Pavilion by ITPO. Raj Rewal was the architect of those buildings.

A work of architecture comes under the purview of “Artistic works”. If another building is constructed on the basis of an existing design, then that will amount to infringement. The plaintiff has filed the case under Sec 57, of the Copyright Act. To analysis the case the Court focuses on Sec 13 and 14 of the Copyright Act.

The plaintiff, in this case, pointed out the Hall of Nations and Nehru Pavilion was proposed to be included in the iconic list of heritage buildings made by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. The buildings were demolished before any finalization. The plaintiff’s counsel claimed that Sec 57 protects the right of paternity and integrity of an author. Any demolition of the above-said building is contrary to the provision

Amar Nath Sehgal's case and other precedents were analyzed in this case. The court contended that a work of art texture when transformed into a building becomes different work form other copyrighted works. The Court analyzed the rights of an owner of land and right of an owner of a copyrighted work

The Court further said that the owner of land can do anything to improve his land. As the building is not declared as a heritage building so, the protection laws for monuments cannot be applied here. It was elaborated that if any portion of the building was twisted then it could amount to infringement. The buildings were totally destroyed, so there lays no question of infringement. On May 28th 2019, the Court dismissed the suit stating that as an architect the plaintiff possesses no right to object demolition of a building in this case.

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