Litigation News

Delhi HC sets aside Rs 5 lakh costs, finding of judicial adventurism against INOX in suit against PVR

INOX had accused PVR of interfering with its contracts with developer/owner of the properties at Amritsar and Mumbai.

Aditi Singh

A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has set aside costs of Rupees Five lakh, as well as the finding of 'judicial adventurism’, against INOX Leisure Limited in its suit against a competitor, PVR Ltd. (INOX vs PVR)

The order was passed by a Bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula.

INOX had filed a suit before the Delhi High Court, seeking a direction to restrain PVR from interfering with its contracts with developer/owner of the properties at Amritsar and Mumbai, as well as all other existing contracts and contracts in future.

The suit was dismissed by a Single Judge Bench last month after it opined that there was no cause of action for relief as claimed against PVR and that the relief claimed by INOX on the ground of tortious inducement etc was barred by law.

Accordingly, costs of Rs 5 lakh was imposed on INOX for indulging in judicial adventurism.

Aggrieved by the order, INOX preferred an appeal before the Division Bench.

In view of the current adverse change in the business environment, INOX did not press the appeal on merits.

It, nonetheless, argued that the Single Judge's order had erroneously imposed costs when the concept of tortious inducement/interference with binding agreements was known to constitute a cause of action to file a suit for damages and/or injunction.

INOX stated that the finding that it indulged in ‘judicial adventurism’ was also erroneous as the expression was used in respect of judicial overreach by a judicial authority and the same could not be attributed to a litigant.

It was pointed out that the judgment relied upon by the Single Judge to hold that a suit for tortiuous inducement/interference was violative of Section 27 of the Contract Act was his own judgment which was pronounced after the order had been reserved in INOX's suit.

Further, a Division Bench in Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Modicare Ltd. & Ors has already held that an action for tortious interference was a matter of evidence, INOX argued.

PVR, inter alia, stated that having taken a chance by filing the suit, INOX could not seek a waiver of cost as well as expunction of the ‘judicial adventurism’ remark.

After hearing the parties, the Court agreed with the contentions put forth by INOX and opined that although the plea of tortious inducement/interference with the binding agreement was not made out in the present case, yet the concept was well-known in law to constitute a cause of action to file a suit for damages/injunction.

It observed that the Single Judge did not dismiss the suit or reject the plaint on the ground of suppression of material facts and/or on the ground of existence of parallel or multiple proceedings on the same cause of action.

"Consequently, neither the finding of ‘judicial adventurism’ nor the imposition of costs is warranted in the present case", the Court concluded.

Accordingly, the cost of Rupees Five lacs imposed by the learned Single Judge as well as the finding of ‘judicial adventurism’ against the appellant-plaintiff are set aside.
Delhi High Court

The appeal was accordingly disposed of in the above terms.

INOX was represented by Senior Advocate Amit Sibal with Advocates Sachin Mandlik, Aditya Ganju, Madhavam Sharma, Vinay Tripathi, Ambar Bhushan, Saksham Dhingra.

PVR was represented by Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas Advocates Ajit Warrier, Angad Kochhar, Devansh Agarwal.

Read the Order:

INOX vs PVR - appeal order.pdf
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