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The Delhi High Court has referred a case concerning allegations of 'forum shopping' in Trial Courts to its Chief Justice for further enquiry on the administrative side.
Capital Ventures (Petitioner) had moved a criminal contempt petition before the Court alleging that the Respondents, KRBL Ltd and others, had indulged in ‘forum shopping’ as they repeatedly moved applications to get their intellectual property right cases listed before some particular trial court Judges.
When the matter was taken up by the Court on October 15, 2018, without casting any aspersion either on the counsel concerned or on the Judicial Officers concerned, the Court had directed that the Respondents' IPR suits shall not be listed before or entertained by the named Judicial Officers.
Subsequently, various impleadment applications had been filed by third parties against whom injunction had been obtained by the respondents.
After hearing the counsel for the Petitioner, Capital Venture Capital as well as the other parties, and perusing the pleadings and documents on record, a Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal opined that the matter involved highly disputed questions of facts.
The Court noted that due to legal immunity, the judicial officers named by the petitioner also could not be made parties to the case.
In their absence, it is well-nigh impossible to conclude that the respondents had indulged in ‘forum shopping’ with intent to obtain favourable orders, the Court concluded.
The Court further remarked,
"The allegation of ‘forum shopping’ also needs a structured response inasmuch as a transparent procedure has to be put in place as to how a matter is to be marked in each jurisdiction especially when one of the parties prays that its case be listed before a particular Court."
The Court thus deemed it appropriate to place the matter before the Chief Justice with a request to get all the allegations enquired either through a committee of officers or Judges on the administrative side
The Court added that in case the said allegations were found to be correct, the Chief Justice shall take action in accordance with law, which would include putting in place a transparent mechanism for marking of cases in the Trial Courts so as to avoid occurrence of such further incidents.
In the meantime, the order passed on October 15, 2018 shall continue to remain in force till the Hon’ble Chief Justice takes a decision with regard to the findings of the enquiry report, the Court said.
It also clarified that the present order does not cast any aspersion either on the counsel or on the judicial officers mentioned in the order dated 15th October, 2018.
The contempt plea now stands closed as per the Court's order.
The Petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Chander M.Lall with Advocates Mohan Vidhani, Rahul Vidhani, Nancy Roy.
The Respondents were represented by Senior Advocates Geeta Luthra, Akhil Sibal, Vikas Pahwa with Advocates SK Bansal, Rishi Bansal, Ajay Amitabh Suman, Pratibha, Uma Devi.
Read the Order: