Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Legal challenge for UNAUTHORISED USE of Sri Sathya Sai name by Muddenahalli group can be mounted as name is LEGALLY PROTECTED by EMBLEMS & NAMES ACT

[Disclosure: I am not a lawyer. I am just using plain logic in my arguments below. Note that essentially a court of law follows logical arguments in the context of the laws of the land. So it is not necessary to be a lawyer to consider such matters. Further, I believe, in exceptional cases, a petitioner/plaintiff or a defender in a court of law is allowed to present arguments himself/herself without using a lawyer.]

The relevant act is called "The Emblems And Names (Prevention Of Improper Use) Act, 1950". Its "bare act" including schedule (schedule 24 & 25 relate to SSSCT and Sri Sathya Sai) is available here: http://www.vakilno1.com/bareacts/laws/the-emblems-and-names-prevention-of-improper-use-act-1950.html.

One key part (section?) of the act is given below:

3. Prohibition of improper use of certain emblems and names

Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, no person shall, except in such cases and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government use, or continue to use, for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession, or in the title of any patent, or in any trade mark or design, any name or emblem specified in the Schedule or, any colourable imitation thereof without the previous permission of the Central Government or of such officer of Government as may be authorised in this behalf by the Central Government.

--- end para from bare act ---

In this context I should mention that when I put out Facebook posts, a few months ago, considering a P.I.L. against UNAUTHORIZED USAGE of name of Sri Sathya Sai Baba by Muddenahalli group for darshan, interviews and "discourses" of Madhusudhan Naidu, a Mr. [name-snipped] (who claimed to have studied law) had argued, if I recall correctly, that in the past, some case filed against some orgn. for UNAUTHORISED USAGE of name of Sri Sathya Sai, was dismissed by some court in India (Kerala court?, I don't recall clearly now). That gave me the impression that, perhaps, inclusion of Sri Sathya Sai name in the above Act schedule, may not really be effective in prevention of its UNAUTHORISED use (in India).

But now I think that I came under the wrong impression based on Mr. [name-snipped]'s comments. Here's a 2012 judgement where the judge clearly upheld a govt. dept's stand that the name "All India Defence Services Advocates Association" proposed by a private party goes against para 7 of the schedule of the Emblems and Names Act, http://delhicourts.nic.in/APRIL12/All%20India%20Defence%20Services%20Vs.%20UOI.pdf. The petitioner's plea to order the Registrar of Societies, Delhi, to allow it (a private party) to use the name "All India Defence Services Advocates Association" to incorporate its (private) orgn., was rejected by the judge (in 2012, I repeat).

Here's Para 7 of the schedule of the emblems and names act:

7. Any name which may suggest or be calculated to suggest-

(i) the patronage of the Government of India or the Government of a State; or

(ii) connection with any local authority or any corporation or body constituted by the Government under any law for the time being in force.]

--- end Para 7 of the schedule of the emblems and names act ---

Specifically, the judge wrote in his ruling:

On the contrary the petitioner has been unable to show any need for insistence on registration as a society with the said name only. The petitioner has also been unable to show any prejudice or injury which it may suffer if adopts any other name. The use of the words ‘All India’ in conjunction with the words ‘Defence Services’ has the potential of mischief within the meaning of Para 7 of the Schedule to the Act aforesaid.

8. No merit is thus found in the petition. The same is dismissed.

--- end extract from judge ruling ---

Ravi: Given the above ruling which is upholding the Emblems and Names Act (as I understand it, judges in courts have to interpret and uphold law), the name of Sri Sathya Sai referred to in schedule 25 of the Act, seems to me to be CLEARLY PROTECTED UNDER INDIAN LAW from UNAUTHORISED USAGE. Given below are schedule 24 & 25 of the Act:

[24. The name of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and its two emblems described below:-

(i) In the middle, it has a lotus flame that is spreading light of goodwill in all directions. Five universal human values-Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence are placed in the outer circle. These are universal values that are common to all faiths and beliefs. The emblem has no specific colour stipulation.

(ii) This emblem is a Sarvadharma (multi-religious) Symbol and equality of all religions symbol. It depicts symbols of major world religions-Om-in Sanskrit/ Devnagri (Hinduism and Sikhism), Cross (Christianity), Crescent and Star (Islam), Fire (Zoroastrianism), and Wheel (Dharma Chakra revered by Buddhists and Jains). All signs are placed in a circle signifying their equality. In the middle circle, there is a Lotus Flame that signified Purity, Virtue and Character. This emblem is used in various colours and no specific colour is officially notified.]

[25. The name of “Sri Sathya Sai”.]

--- end extracts from bare act from http://www.vakilno1.com/bareacts/laws/the-emblems-and-names-prevention-of-improper-use-act-1950.html ---

Ravi: Therefore, it seems to me that the AUTHORISED BODY/PERSONS for the name Sri Sathya Sai, which seems to be the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (and/or close kith & kin of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba), should be able to mount a clear & successful legal challenge, on the basis of schedule 25 of "The Emblems And Names (Prevention Of Improper Use) Act, 1950", to Madhusudhan Naidu and Sri B.N.Narasimhamurthy (and others) restraining them from their UNAUTHORISED use of the name of Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the darshan, interviews and discourses of Madhusudhan Naidu and associated so called subtle body (or any other future so called "chosen communicators" and associated so called subtle body(ies)).

I further think that, if the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust does not want to initiate the above suggested legal action, there is a good possibility, I repeat, good possibility (not certainty), of a Public Interest Litigation (P.I.L.) filed by interested Indian national Sathya Sai devotees on this matter, to succeed in getting a court order to restrain Madhusudhan Naidu and Sri B.N. Narasimhamurthy (and others) from using the name of Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the darshan, interviews and discourses of Madhusudhan Naidu and associated so called subtle body (or any other future so called "chosen communicators" and associated so called subtle body(ies)). For such a P.I.L., perhaps the first challenge will be to convince the court why some individuals are filing the litigation instead of the authorised body, which is SSSCT, filing the litigation, and that is why I say, good possibility and not certainty, for success of such a P.I.L.

I would like to clarify that what I am discussing above is a CIVIL case (and NOT A CRIMINAL case), with the objective being PREVENTION of UNAUTHORISED USAGE of Sri Sathya Sai name by Madhusudhan Naidu and Sri B.N. Narasimhamurthy for their so called subtle body. I am not commenting anything about their educational trust (Saraswathi trust) or the Raipur hospital managed by Sri C. Srinivas, or any other service to mankind (society) activities of theirs. I do not have anything against these service activities of theirs (except to the extent they promote the FALSE BELIEF of so called subtle body of Swami), and wish them all the best in these service to mankind (society) activities of theirs.

This webpage of SSSCT, http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/pages/announcements/notice.htm, provides info. on the addition of Sri Sathya Sai name and Sai orgn. emblem to schedule of emblems and names act (notice dated 22nd July 2004).

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