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The Delhi High Court recently refused to adjudicate a suit filed by Saregama India Ltd. against Eros Digital as the parties had themselves excluded jurisdiction of any other court except the Calcutta High Court.
The plaintiff Saregama India Ltd. had instituted a suit for permanent injunction for restraining the infringement of its copyright, rendition of accounts and damages against the defendants, Eros Digital.
Khaitan & Co represented Saregama India Ltd. led by Partner Ajay Bhargava along with Principal Associate Ankur Sangal and Associates Sucheta Roy and Pragya Mishra.
Appearing for Saregama, Senior Advocate CM Lall had submitted that the Court has territorial jurisdiction to entertain the suit under Section 20(c) of the Code of Civil Procedure, Section 62 of the Copyright Act, 1957 and Section 134 of the Trademarks Act.
However, Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, representing the defendants, had urged that the Court has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the present suit due to Clause 29 of the License Agreement whereby the parties had consented to submit to the jurisdiction of the Calcutta High Court.
Without delving into the merits of the case, the Single Judge Bench of Justice SP Garg took note of clause 29 of the Licence Agreement which reads as follows:
“This Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the Laws of India and in case of any matter or dispute arising here from, the High Court of Calcutta, India alone shall have jurisdiction.”
The Bench observed,
“It is not in dispute that the courts at Kolkata have jurisdiction to entertain the instant suit as the cause of action arose there due to the execution of the License Agreement. It has further come on record that the installments in terms of License Agreement were made at Kolkata.”
The Court further noted that it is well settled that where there are two or more competent courts which can entertain a suit, if the parties to the contract agree to vest jurisdiction in one such court to try the dispute, the agreement would be valid.
Moreover, such an agreement cannot be understood to be against the statute and would not be contrary to public policy or in contravention of Sections 28 or 23 of the Indian Contract Act.
The Court then asked the plaintiff to approach the court of competent jurisdiction to avail the relief claimed.
Read the Order below.