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While analysing the subject of guarantees to protect the intellectual property rights of a positively obscure man or woman and when a person who may be at risk of dealing with challenges, businesses, works of art or paintings in which the man or woman cannot be prosecuted or tracked because of his or her evidences are not clearly collected under various layers of coating to ensure that a breach of therapeutic practice is required in such circumstances and this insurance is known as the John Doe Order.

It is an exciting  idea of law wherein somebody is under the idea or impression of sure legitimate procedures of protection of his or her right even in the case where his or her identity is anonymous also. It is the right of every individual to protect its individuality, its agency, association, alliance of character, a group of people, consider, society, supplier organizations, web webpage proprietors, newspaper proprietors which encroach scholarly possessions rights through making certain means with such reason.

Similarly, if someone who is afraid to keep their digital books, movies, or TV shows saves to keep them as useful gaming shows, they can edit the court filings from the relevant department and try to loosen up John Doe’s motion. , and to the fullest extent possible, experience in prison material is presented as a call to reject and put an end to protecting their possible misfortune through reproduction and distribution without the knowledgeable experience or prior recording of the author. Section 55 of the Copyright Act, 1957 entitles the owner of copyright to seek civil treatment for encroachment in their copyright. While interim orders are also issued normally by the court of law under Order 39 Rule 1 and 2 of CPC, 1908, the Indian legal authorities have issued  interim orders during the previous decade or thereabouts conceded various John Doe/Ashok Kumar orders to guard the rights of the copyright holders towards unidentified or feasible future infringers. This paper aims to examine the need and prison foundation for such orders as well as the jurisprudence that has developed round them over the years. The author will focus on the need and adoption of the Order in the Indian Jurisdiction along with the evolution of the same.


The John Doe Order comes into picture when there is a question of protection of the intellectual rights of the person who is unknown to the court of law. Or it can also be said that the basic idea behind the John Doe Order is to protect the intellectual property rights of an anonymous person. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘John Doe’ as the “Anonymous Party.”.[1]The person can approach a court of law in order to ask for the issuance of the John Doe Order in those cases where the person who has produced a particular project an under a threat that his living will get affected if some anonymous person is going to copy his work, and that copied work will result in the form of new innovation.  This is considered as an interesting and new concept in the court of law because here the person who is a part of the legal proceeding but the identity of the person is anonymous to the court of law. In simple terms, this is used in those cases where the complaint is filed and the identity of the accused who is protected under the anonymous law especially in the cases dealing with the cyber world.

The origin of this order was done back in England’s King Edward III region, where this order was used by the court of law to refer to the anonymous defendants. In short, it can be said that the order was used by the court in those cases where the party of the case is anonymous or unidentified by the court of law. Its roots are seen in the old British legal system where it was called the action of ejectment. Back in the English common law period, the landlords used to take specialized and hard to comprehend, and barely any utilization action against squatters or defaulters in the court of law. Because of which the landowner would come up with the action of ejectment in the court of law, on the imaginary individual who supposedly expelled or removed him, and before building up the case against the imaginary party, the court would need to initially set up the right of the owner of the property, hence satisfying the landowner’s basic aim for filling the activity, without him bouncing the lawful bands. So, the landlord started using the name John Doe as the Plaintiff, as the actual origin of the name is not traced anywhere. This name was used since that period in the court of law to deal with  such cases.  It was for the first time in the case of Doe v Wade[2]  that the Supreme Court of US has referred to the word of the anonymous entity in the criminal suit as ‘Doe’


The John Doe Order in India is referred to as the ‘Ashok Kumar Orders’.[3] This order has evolved a long way to overcome the difficulties faced by the owners of the copyright in cases where the defendant is anonymous, it gives the party a right to issue a suit for the infringement in the form of ex parte suit against an unidentified party who is part of identical class, who would after the identification will come and defend their case in a civil proceeding.[4] In such cases a John Doe Order is considered to be most effective and it is mostly used in online privacy cases dealing with copyright law. In India the Order is issued by the court in the cases of:

  • Movies where it is either released or is going to be released but an unauthorised copy of the same is selling in the market. In such cases the producers of the movie can take protection under the John Doe Order.
  • The author or publisher of a particular book can also seek protection under the same Order by the court of law, in those cases where the copy of the same has been published in the market without the permission to stop such unauthorised publication of the same.
  • It can also be granted by the court in the sports events unauthorised telecasting, this right of live telecasting is also protected under the John Doe Order.
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In India the High Court of Delhi in the year 2003, for the first time passed the ex parte interim order in the case of Taj Television & Anr. v Rajan Mandal & Ors.[5] where the court allowed the plaintiff to search the place and seize the devices used by the unidentified defendant. This case started the jurisprudence of passing John Doe or Ashok Kumar Order by the court of law in similar cases. This judgement by the Indian Courts is considered to be sketchy in its implementation for the execution. Even if it has been used by the judiciary in the case of Taj television, this order is still under the phase of evolution in India as with the evolution of the technology services in the country. John Doe Order has been perceived worldwide and has been acknowledged internationally as far as execution of rights in relation to the intellectual property rights are concerned. Indian courts in spite of the fact that they have begun issuing John Doe orders, the usage and viability of the same are yet to be seen.


The John Doe orders statute in India is still in its growth stage wherein the Indian legal authorities and lawful framework of the Indian Courts are putting cognizant attempts to improve and advance their legal system and enhance its laws with changes in the technology. John Doe Order in India is covered under Order 39, rules 1 and 2 of the Common Technique Code, 1908 (CPC), read along with Section 151 of the CPC and also covered under the provisions of the Specific Relief Act,1963 which is related to the Permanent Injunction. It is also said that in order to acquire John Doe orders, in the court of law it is the duty of the offended parties to prove that the case is prima facie case in the court of law, with the equalization of both convenience and potential harm caused to the party, while it is also mandatory to prove the proprietary rights of the owner on the infringed work.

The court in the case of Bloomsbury Publishing Group v News Group Newspaper[6] has given certain guidelines which are followed by other courts for a long duration of time while dealing with the cases of John Doe Order. As per the court “Firstly, it is important for the claimant to prove that he has a decent doubtful argument against the other party of the case. There is no doubt that the more grounded the ground of the case, the more grounded the case ought to be. Secondly, the request made before the court of law must be in simple wording which without any doubt states what the party against the case is filed should and should not do. Thirdly, it must be conceivable to recognize the defendant against whom the request is filed by the court of law. Fourthly, all these conditions can only be successful against an individual who, when made aware of the details of the order, will comprehend that it concerns him.”

Even after this judgment of the court, there are still certain complexities included in the implementation of the said order, for example, execution of requests made by the party whose rights are infringed in the light of technical limitations present in the case, and jurisdictional issues of the court authorities around the name of John Doe recognized only based on a numerical IP address of the parties, which may not really fall inside the court’s local authorities.


Indian legal system has woken up to the circumstance and understood that in a few circumstances such requests for the issuance of the John Dore Order need to be passed even in those situations where before the encroachment having occurred to limit compromised or inescapable unfair acts, in the form of the Quia Timet Orders. The term Quia Timet Order means that ‘because he or she fears.’[7] The statute of the court has evolved through the passage of the judgments passed by the Indian courts dealing with the various cases of the media industry including cases of copyright infringement and slander through blogging on the web space just as trademark encroachments. The extension and scope of John Doe order in India have not stretched beyond the intellectual rights protection laws as till date the vast majority cases are ignorant of its reality and existence of this right however the same protection was also available under the criminal laws to the assurance of the protection of intellectual property rights of the people.[8] 

In the case of Reliance Big Entertainment v Multivision Network and Ors.[9] also known as the Singham Case, the Delhi High Court, in this case, has ordered that the offended party has proven the three essential elements of the order namely the prima facie case, imminent danger to be caused, and balance of convenience based on which the court has issued John Doe order limiting all defendants in the case and other unidentified parties of the case which are establishing some portion of a similar class from distributing, copying, transferring, downloading or showing the film in any way. After this judgement many ISP officers were asked to block the sharing of the videos related to the film. Eventually, the John Doe Order became popular in the film industry as it was seen as the most effective remedy to prevent the infringement of the rights of the producers and directors of the film and to stop piracy.

This order is not only restricted to the protection of rights of the film industry people but is also used as a protecting shield by other sectors to protect their rights like the software- ISP domain is also protected under this order. The Delhi High Court in the case of Super Cassettes Industries v Myspace Inc. & Anr[10] has held that “Social networking websites, for example, YouTube, Myspace and so on might be held at risk for copyright encroachment caused due to the reason of availability of the infringing material on such sites, only if it might be proved that the mediators had command over the material posted on their websites, and had the chance to practice due persistence in forestalling such encroachment and determined benefits out of such infringing exercises in consonance with Section 79 of the Information Technology Act read along with Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011.”

The rights of the media and the broadcasting authorities are also protected under the John Doe Order. Tej Television,[11] cases including broadcasting/utilizing an unapproved or illegal mode of signals for downloading/broadcasting purposes during the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament have likewise preceded the Delhi HC on account of Satellite Singapore PTE Ltd. v. Star Link System and Ors.[12] John Doe Orders have been passed by the court to secure the privileges of the candidate who held the restrictive telecom rights for IPL coordinates in India. Search and seizure orders were passed for the appointment of officials to check premises for discovering unlawful transmission/downloading of IP match signs, during the hours when IPL matches were broadcasted.

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The John Doe Order in the past turned up being hurtful for the government assistance of the purchasers of the Indian Film Industry because of dinky requests which brought about a muddled path for their execution. The Bombay High Court in the case of Department of Electronics and Information Technology v Star Indian Private Limited [13]an ongoing case of 2016 the court endeavours to put an end to these practices; be that as it may, the request also has different false notions, for example, the provisions for the Ombudsman can end up being inconvenient, for they may get affected by the makers of the films. In another case of the Bombay High Court Eros International and Anr v BSNL & Others[14] the High Court authorities extended the guidelines which need to be followed by the court authorities when dealing with the case of John Doe Order. In this case the court has ordered the copyright holders to check and validate the supposedly illegal connections before mentioning their blocking, while promoters and general insight are commanded to confirm these connections once more. While upholding the Order 39, rule 1 of the CPC, the offended party is ordered to present all the material to the High Court authorities as an affidavit on the oath. The court also gave rules to be trailed by the court authorities while giving any judgment dealing with the issue of John Doe Order, the authorities are encouraged to survey the rundown and check its credibility or representative a nonpartisan outsider to do as such. The ISPs are ordered to show a message on the blocked page that incorporates the specifics of the case and explanation behind hindering, the location of the copyright holder and an explanation that any distressed individual, including the watchers, may move toward the court with at least 48 hours’ notification to the backers of the offended party. This judgment additionally limited the legitimacy of the square to 21 days, after which the offended party would be required to move toward the court and get a request for expansion of the boycott.

The future of John Doe Order in India, is still indistinct, in the present scenario. The explanation is that the Courts are still inclined towards giving the makers or the directors the advantage, in any case, if they carefully start following the rules set by the Bombay High Court, the remedy provided by the court probably won’t reach the affected party in time. The John Doe Order has failed to give the balance of rights in India. Yet, without some other successful enactment right now, it is setting down deep roots, nonetheless, with certain checks and balances.


On the basis of the above discussion, it can be said that the John Doe Order is meant for the protection of the author, from the assurance point of view, and it seems to be on the right path, as its main purpose is for the protection. The very reason ought not to be strayed by an ambiguous order which can be maltreatment by the people and this sort of general and unclear orders of anticipatory shape ought to never be allowed. To ensure the intrigue, the extension and degree of such orders ought to be completely expressed to maintain a strategic distance from any kind of abuse by any person. At the request of a person arrested for publishing a book, film, television show, or live sporting event, they may go to a court of competent jurisdiction and seek an injunction from John Doe, which in acceptable legal terms is an Order to terminate and deny anticipated harm by copy and publish without the author’s knowledge or prior information.

While talking about India, the utilizations of John Doe orders have brought awareness among the people of the society about the protection of their rights and feeling of secureness of the Intellectual Property Rights. The central matter of John Doe Order under the court authorities is that in situations where the unidentified parties of the case are (1) does not have knowledge about such Orders or (2) not ready to follow such orders passed by the court (3) maintains a strategic distance from and likes to proceed with such encroachment significantly after that then all things considered what will be the motivation behind having served such protective orders as it will go thoroughly squander if a definitive objective isn’t accomplished of having the protection of Intellectual Property rights.

Then to deal with such situations proper guidelines should be given by the court so that such kinds of situations do not arise in future, as this order acts as a protecting shield against the infringement of the film makers and media person rights. This order gives assurance to the authors that their work is backed by a legal authority and if any person tries to infringe their rights, the court has certain remedy for the person in the court of law.

[1] john-doe noun – Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary at,

[2] Doe v Wade, 410 US 113 (1973)

[3] What is John Doe or Ashok Kumar order?  CNBCTV18.COM,


[5] Taj Television & Anr. v Rajan Mandal & Ors., 2003 FSR 223

[6] Bloomsbury Publishing Group v News Group Newspaper, (2003) EWHC 1087 Ch

[7] Quia Timet relief | Irwin Law,

[8] Section 93 and 94, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

[9] Reliance Big Entertainment v Multivision Network and Ors., I.A. No. 11242/2011 in CS(OS) No. 1724/2011

[10] Super Cassettes Industries v Myspace Inc. &Anr., MIPR 2011 (2) 303

[11] Taj Television & Anr. v Rajan Mandal & Ors., 2003 FSR 223

[12] Satellite Singapore PTE Ltd. v. Star Link System and Ors, FAO (OS)211/2010

[13] Electronics and Information Technology v Star Indian Private Limited, No. 2147 of 2016 in Suit (L) No. 751 of 2016

[14] Eros International and Anr v BSNL & Others, (Notice of Motion (L) 2147 of 2016 in Suit (L) 755 of 2016.