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The week that was: The Delhi High Court

Smrithi Suresh

Here is a look at some of the significant developments from the Delhi High Court this week.

Call drops: Telecom companies to shell out penalty to customers

A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court ruled in favor of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that had come up with an order saying that telecom operators had to compensate subscribers for the first three calls dropped per day at the rate of Re 1 per dropped call from January 1, 2016. The Cellphone Operators Association had assailed the said decision before the High Court.

In its challenge, the Association represented by Senior Advocates Harish Salve, Gopal Jain and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, had termed the TRAI order as a ‘penal form of regulation’. The Court had also questioned TRAI on whether the compensation policy was the only possible solution to prevent call drops.

However in its verdict, the Bench agreed upon TRAI’s power to enact regulations for the purpose of ensuring quality of service to consumers.

Bassi under fire

A petition was filed against city police commissioner BS Bassi alleging that he influenced the sedition probe in the case against JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and also alleged that the police chief was “playing at the hands” of certain political parties.

This case came up for hearing before the Division Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath which was not inclined to entertain the plea and termed it as a ‘publicity interest litigation.’ The Bench further said that the Supreme Court was seized of the issue and various inquiries pending over the issue had ensured that the interference of the High Court was not necessary.

Kanhaiya gets freedom, albeit with a warning

The JNU controversy reached fruition (for now) before the High Court when Justice Pratibha Rani granted interim bail to JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar for 6 months. The order, however baffled many, with its inadvertent references on the merits of the case under a bail application.

Kumar was also told to furnish a personal bond of ten thousand rupees, as well as an undertaking that he would not participate,  “actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national.”

Virbhadra Singh’s cup of woes

The disproportionate assets case came to haunt Himachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh again when the CBI filed a petition seeking vacation of the HP High Court’s interim order that had restrained CBI from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Singh in the DA case.

The Bench sought a reply from Singh as to why should the said plea not be considered.

‘Police state’ theory and the MakemyTrip service tax controversy

A senior official of popular travel portal MakemyTrip was arrested in January for alleged service tax violations. While he was soon released on bail, the company did not take this lightly, and approached the High Court against the arrest.

In earlier hearings, the Court had made serious observations in the actions of the tax department. The tenor of the Bench continued in this week’s hearing as well when it directed the Government, to instruct the concerned officers who carried out the arrest  to personally file an affidavit explaining their conduct. The court also directed MakeMyTrip to name the officials who allegedly threatened arrest.

Breather to Pachauri in sexual harassment trial

The close of week brought some good news to former IPCC Chief RK Pachauri. A Single Bench of Justice SP Garg dismissed the employee’s petition seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted by a lower court to Pachauri.

The petition was filed by the female employee citing evidence tampering and influencing of witnesses. She had submitted in her petition that a “free and fair investigation could not be carried out if the accused was allowed to move freely.”

However, the Court was not inclined to interfere with Pachauri’s anticipatory bail and dismissed the case.

IPR Roundup- Saikrishna & Associates and Anand & Anand

1. M/S Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt Ltd Vs RK Distilleries Pvt Ltd.

A trademark infringment dispute over the brand of drink ‘Regular Choice’ manufactured by the Plaintiff. The plaintiff contended that by selling the drinks in Delhi, which was the domain of sale for the former, the defendants were infringing upon the rights of the plaintiff. The defendants responded to this by stating that they were not selling their drink in Delhi.

The Bench granted time to the defendants to file their detailed reply in the case and adjourned the case.

2. Tata Sons Ltd and Anr Vs Krishna Kumar & Ors

The plaintiff sought a recall of the order passed in December 2015 that had transferred the case to appropriate District Judge as per the Commercial Courts notification. The Bench issued notice to the defendants and sought their reply before the next date of hearing on April 7.

3. Dell Inc & Anr Vs Pioneer Computronix Pvt Ltd

 This case was adjourned to August 10.

4. Super Cassettes Industries Ltd Vs Darsh Digital Network Pvt Ltd.

The defendants sought time to file written submissions in this suit alleging copyright infringment. The Bench granted time and accordingly adjourned the matter for final arguments on July 18.

5. Microsoft Corpn & Ors Vs Jinesh Dhruv and Anr.

Both parties submitted that they were exploring the options of settling the matter. One last opportunity was granted by the Bench to pursue a settlement before adjourning the case to August 5.

6. Koninklijke Philips NV Vs Amitkumar Kantilal Jain & Ors.

The plantiff submitted that they had filed the replication in the suit and sought time to file additional documents in the case. Bench granted time to both parties for filing of additional documents. The case will now be taken up on August 18.

7. VIFOR (Intl) Ltd Vs D Mohan Rao & Ors.

The parties sought clarification of an order passed by a coordinate Single Bench. Accordingly, the Bench directed for the case to be placed before the appropriate Bench for the said purpose. The matter will now be heard on March 18.

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