Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw of the Delhi High Court delivered an interesting judgement in which he stated that an architect as an artist or author of a creative work does not have the right to restrain the demolition of a building on the ground that it was designed as per his work. In the said case the plaintiff was Raj Rewal, who filed the suit when a proposal was made by the defendant, Indian Trade Promotion Council (ITPO), for demolishing the Hall of Nations and the Nehru Pavilion.
The Plaintiff asked for compensation recreating the work of architecture in the Hall of Nations and Nehru Pavilion. The Plaintiff referred to the definition of 'artistic work' in section (c) of the Copyright Act, 1957 and contended that, ‘artistic work’, the author is the artist and as the architect he is an artist.The plaintiff sought to exercise his right under section 57(1) of the Copyright Act, 1957. It was stated by the Court that, section 57 is applicable only where the buildings have been declared to be heritage buildings. It was further stated that if the claim of the Plaintiff is agreed to then, it would lead to an impediment to modernization. Further, according to Sec.52(1)(x), the reconstruction of a building or structure in accordance with the architectural drawings or plans by reference to which the building or structure was originally constructed is not regarded as an infringing activity. The Plaintiff stated that it would affect his reputation, however the case was dismissed by the Court.
The Court observed that,the functionality of the building has to necessarily outweigh the interest of the architect on the preservation of integrity. Thus, the owner of the building has full power to dispose it and to destroy it. However, the Court acknowledged the pain of the Plaintiff and stated that Central Government and ITPO has a duty to inform Rewal in advance about the demolition of the buildings.