The Bombay High Court on Wednesday set aside a single-judge bench order barring the printing, sale and circulation of the autobiography of former Raymond Group chairperson Vijaypat Singhania.
Singhania is embroiled in a legal battle with his son and Managing Director of Raymond Group Gautam Singhania over the release of the book, An Incomplete Life, for more than three years, reported India Today.
Raymond had filed a suit in a Thane court in 2018 to stop Penguin, the former publisher of the book, from publishing the autobiography.
The company had argued that the title of the book violated Raymond’s right to privacy and discussed its business operation and other confidential information. It had also contended that the then title of the book, The Incomplete Man, violated the registered trademark of the company “The Complete Man”.
In March 2019, the Thane court stopped the publication of the book for a few days, which was extended till April 22 of that year. Following this, Vijaypat Singhania approached Pan Macmillan to publish the book as the court had not extended the restraining order beyond April 22, 2019, according to advocate Siddhesh Bhole, representing Pan Macmillan.
Raymond then approached the Bombay High Court as the book was set to be released on October 31, 2021. In its petition, the company had alleged that the book was released in a secret manner despite the injunction order, reported Live Law.
On November 4, Justice Surendra Tavade restrained the publication of the book till the case was heard in the Thane court.
Pan Macmillan, in its plea before a division bench of the High Court, claimed that Justice Tavade had erroneously passed the restraining order stopping another entity, Macmillan Publishers, from publishing the book, reported Bar and Bench.
Pan Macmillan told the High Court that it was a distinct entity from Macmillan Publishers.
Bhole said that Pan Macmillan was not made a party in the suit before the Thane court and the single-judge bench hearing Raymond’s plea failed to issue a notice to them, reported The Indian Express.
In its order, the High Court said that the single-judge bench was under “an erroneous impression” that the Thane court’s April 2019 order was to remain till the pendency of the appeal.
The High Court also allowed the parties in the case to move the Thane court.
Following the High Court order, Pan Macmillan said in a statement that the company and Singhania were delighted with the verdict. “Raymond Ltd. has been granted liberty to approach the single judge for renewing the injunction, but we are confident that we will succeed before the Single Judge as well,” the statement said.