Appellate Court cannot usurp the jurisdiction of the Single Judge to decide as to whether the tests of prima facie case, balance of convenience and irreparable injury are made out in the case or not: Supreme Court

Appellate Court cannot usurp the jurisdiction of the Single Judge to decide as to whether the tests of prima facie case, balance of convenience and irreparable injury are made out in the case or not: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled that the appellate court cannot usurp the jurisdiction of the Single Judge to decide as to whether the tests of prima facie case, balance of convenience and irreparable injury are made out in the case or not. 

Background  

The respondent plaintiff had filed a suit against the appellants defendants for infringement of trade mark and passing off. It is the case of the respondent plaintiff that it has trade mark registration in respect of the word ‘SHYAM’ and diverse label marks wherein the word ‘SHYAM’ features prominently. Both the respondent plaintiff and the appellants defendants manufacture and sell, inter alia, Thermo­ Mechanically treated bars. It is the case of the respondent plaintiff that in the year 2015, it came to know that the appellant defendants were using the mark ‘SHYAM’ in their products. The respondent plaintiff therefore, through its advocate, objected to such use. It is the case of the respondent plaintiff that the appellants defendants agreed to phase out the products that they had manufactured with the mark ‘SHYAM’ and not to use the said mark ‘SHYAM’ on their products in future.

Arguments 

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of the appellants ­defendants, submitted that the appeal filed by the respondent plaintiff before the Division Bench of the High Court was not tenable.

He argued that vide judgment and order impugned before the Division Bench of the High Court, the Single Judge had only granted time to file the reply and had neither granted nor refused an interim injunction. 

Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing on behalf of the respondent ­plaintiff, contended that it is a settled principle of law that an order of injunction would be issued wherever an infringement of a registered trade mark is established.

Decision 

The division bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai noted that there was no adjudication with regard to the rights of the respondent plaintiff to get an ad interim injunction   during the pendency of the suit. 

The court said that though by postponement of the issue with regard to grant of ad­ interim injunction, the order might have caused some inconvenience and may be, to some extent, prejudice to the respondent plaintiff; the same could not be treated as a ‘judgment’ inasmuch as there was no conclusive finding as to whether the respondent­ plaintiff was entitled for grant of ad ­interim injunction or not. 

The court allowed the present appeal by setting aside the impugned judgment and order of the Division Bench of the High Court and said that since it found that the approach of the Division Bench of the High Court was totally contrary to the various well­ settled principles of law, it is required to consider the correctness of various findings and observations of the Division Bench of the High Court in the impugned judgment and order.

The court stated that  when the Division Bench of the High Court itself took 8­9 months to decide the appeal, it is difficult to understand as to what the Judges of the Division Bench of the High Court meant by “unnecessary prolongation of the litigation and utter wastage of time”.

The court requested the Single Judge to decide the application filed by the respondent ­plaintiff under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 CPC as expeditiously as possible and in any case, within a period of six weeks from the date of the judgment. 

Case title: Shyam Sel and Power Limited  and Anr v/s Shyam Steel Industries Limited

Citation: CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1984 OF 2022 

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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