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The week that was: The Delhi High Court

Smrithi Suresh

The Delhi High Court had a lackluster week with a number of judges not holding Court on alternate days. Here is a look at some of the significant developments from the Delhi High Court this week.

Tuesday (March 8)

DDCA Vs MCD- The fight over Kotla continues

The T20 Cricket World Cup fever that is currently gripping the nation, also reached the High Court when a long pending dispute between the DDCA and MCD came up for hearing. A Division Bench of Justices S. Murlidhar and Vibhu Bakhru stated that the grant of permission to host matches at Ferozeshah Kotla was not in the domain of the Court, but for the state authorities to decide.

This is not the first time that both the bodies have locked horns. Last year, the controversy had arisen before a test match between South Africa and India.

Women’s Day embarrassment for RSS at High Court

Visitors to the High Court on Tuesday were welcomed with a huge banner announcing a symposium marking International Women’s Day that was to be held later in the day within the Court premises and was presided by Chief Justice G Rohini. The event was touted as a platform for lauding women’s empowerment and discussing “legal, social and political justice for women.”

However not everything went as per plan for the organizers, a lawyers’ body affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, when permission to host the event was later withdrawn. It appears that a section of lawyers had voiced concerns  over an event convened in Court premises by a private body.

Micromax-Erricson Dispute

Smartphone manufacturer Micromax has been involved in a patent dispute with Erricson for quite some time now. On an earlier occasion, the Court had taken a stringent view of Micromax’s actions.

The company and its subsidiary Yu Televentures had filed an appeal against the said order of the Single Bench. This week, when the case was taken up  Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul appeared for Ericcson and challenged the maintainability of the company’s appeal on grounds of perjury committed by the appellant, by lying to the Court of not being served notice in the case.

Wednesday (March 9)

Monsanto’s fight over price control by the Union Govt

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB), a joint venture company between India based Mahyco and US-based Monsanto had challenged the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture to bring genetically modified (BT) cotton seeds under price control.

This week, Senior Advocate P Chidambaram appearing for the National Seed Association, that is supporting the Union Govt’s stance, had sought impleadment in the matter. Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Monsanto and opposed the impleadment but later assented, with a specific prayer to the Bench that the issue be decided as expeditiously as possible. The Single Bench of Justice Manmohan directed for the parties to be impleaded in the case.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s initiative receives flak from the High Court

The Art of Living event that hogged headlines for all the wrong reasons this week, was not spared of the ire of High Court either. While hearing a PIL on the unauthorized constructions on the Yamuna floodplains in the Jaitpur and Mithapur areas in the capital, a Division Bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva commented that the event was a ‘disaster’.

Thursday (March 10)

Regulation of radio taxis in Delhi

Lawyer Damini Chawla had filed a petition in late 2014 on the need to frame guidelines regulating web-based car companies. This case, in which notice was not issued, later saw multiple parties impleaded. Meanwhile, the Delhi  government enacted the City Taxi Scheme of 2015, replacing the Radio Taxi Scheme of 2006.

However, in spite of such significant developments this case has not seen much progress over two years now. The Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini again adjourned the matter this week for completion of pleadings.

Friday (March 11)

SpiceJet takeover saga

Erstwhile founder of SpiceJet airlines Kalanithi Maran dragged the airlines to Court when he filed a petition over a share transfer dispute. Maran and his airline, KAL, stated in their petition that despite giving around 579 crore to SpiceJet, the carrier failed to issue them the warrants or allot them tranche 1 and 2 of convertible redeemable preference shares and the amount was not utilized for paying statutory dues.

With legal bigwigs floated by both parties, the arguments went on for a considerable time before Justice Manmohan Singh who eventually directed SpiceJet Ltd to pass a board resolution for the purpose of transferring shares to Maran & KAL.

A detailed order in this regard is expected to be passed on Monday, March 14.

Pensionary benefits for High Court judges get Parliamentary seal of approval

After the Aadhaar Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, another relevant news from the Parliament came when a Bill targeted to ‘discard anomalies’ in the pension packages of High Court judges was passed.

Among other things, the Bill raises the issue of ‘qualifying service’ and states that a practice of 10 years as an advocate will be added as qualifying service for High Court judges elevated from the Bar. This is in line with a judgment passed by the Apex Court in March 2014.

IPR Roundup

1. Prizer Products Inch & Anr Vs Platinum Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd and Ors

Pfizer Inc had instituted this trademark infringment suit against the defendant, alleging infringment of their registered trademark over the drug ‘Becosule’. The plaintiff had stated in its suit that the defendant company was engaged in manufacturing a drug by the name of ‘Bicsule’ and was in violation of Pfizer’s registered trademark. Pfizer Inc had also alleged ‘passing off’.

After hearing brief arguments advanced by the Plaintiff’s counsel, the Bench decreed the suit in favor of Pfizer Inc and restrained the defendant from selling their drugs under the name ‘Bicsule’. The Bench also directed payment of damages worth Rs. 20 Lakhs to be paid by the defendant to Pfizer and held the plaintiff to be entitled to the costs of the suit.

Additionally, the Bench also restrained the defendant from selling any other drugs that were ‘deceptively similar’ to the trademark vested in ‘Becosule’.

2. STP Limited Vs Gian Chand Walia & Anr.

This case was adjourned for completion of pleadings.

3. The Indian Peforming Right Society Vs. Mr. S. Keerthivasan &Anr. 

In view of the SLP on a similar issue pending before the Supreme Court, this case was adjourned.

4. Alticor Inc & Anr Vs Mr. Sharad Mishra

A trademark dispute. The plaintiff sought an injunction after the defendants had not entered appearance for a period of more two months. The plaintiff’s registered trademark is over ‘Nutrilite’, types of dietary supplements while defendant’s mark is ‘Nutrilite’, batch of soya products.

The Bench restrained the defendants from proceeding further in this regard. The case will now be taken up on August 29.

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