A single judge bench of Justice Amit Bansal said that he was of the prima facie view that the confidentiality clause stated in Hockey India’s Code of Conduct has been breached by the publisher seeking to publish certain portions of the book pertaining to certain players. He observed that grave and irreparable injury will be caused to the players if the portions in question come out in public domain.
A single judge bench of Justice Amit Bansal observed that a “prima facie case had been made out in favour” of Hockey India. He further said that he was of the prima facie view that the confidentiality clause had been breached by Marijne by seeking to public certain information about the players. “Grave harm and irreparable injury will be caused to the concerned player if the information is allowed to come in public domain,” the court held.
The HC thereafter stated that till the next date of hearing there will be an ad interim injunction restraining both HarperCollins Publishers India Pvt Ltd. and Marijne from publishing “highlighted portions” in the book which are confidential and listed the matter for hearing on November 18.
Appearing for Hockey India, advocate Sheyl Trehan argued that although the book has not been released but it is rampant with details about players which should not be there. She additionally argued that there is a copyright violation on account of the publisher using two photographs which belong to Hockey India. Trehan read through certain portions of the book arguing that “these are not statements which a coach should say” and that he was bound by the confidentiality clause in the Code of Conduct.
It was argued that Hockey India was seeking a wider relief as the confidentiality clause mentioned in the Code of Conduct had been violated and information which is of this nature and in the book should be restrained from being published, as “every player cannot come to the Court”. As per the clause (20), members, Volunteers, and staff of Hockey India shall not disclose information entrusted to them in confidence. Previously, Gurjit Kaur, member of the national women’s team, had moved the HC against the publisher and the author for disclosing confidential information pertaining to her medical condition in the book.
Appearing for HarperCollins, advocate Swathi Sukumar argued the pleadings on how the information disclosed in the book is confidential needs to be found in the plain. She argued that she “needs a fair opportunity to defend” her case with respect to such information. On the alleged violation of copyright with respect to the photographs Sukumar said that HarperCollins “is willing to suffer a permanent injunction” with respect to the same.
The Court observed that on September 19 the division bench of the HC in Gurjit Kaur’s case, had held that “…In this behalf, we observe that Clause 20 of the Code of Conduct by which the author of the subject book is clearly and unequivocally bound, required him contractually not to disclose information entrusted to him in confidence, inter alia, for personal gain or benefit or to damage the reputation of any person. Furthermore, nothing establishing the fact that the medical information contained in the subject book, as of now, was in public domain has been placed on the record…there can be, in our view, no quarrel with the dictum of the Hon‟ble Supreme Court that the right to protection of data such as medical information is one that falls squarely within the domain of the reasonable expectation paradigm.” The division bench had held that Kaur was entitled to her privacy and the author owed a duty of care towards.
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