The Supreme Court ruled that the court in exercise of its inherent power may rectify the consent decree to ensure that it is free from clerical or arithmetical errors.
According to the Plaintiff, the Defendant lifted each and every novel element of the original design, shape and configuration for its scientific/ electronic calculator ‘ORPAT FX-991ES PLUS’. The Respondent applied for a design registration for its electronic calculator namely ‘CASIO FX991ES PLUS’ and it was introduced in India in October, 2011. Having knowledge about the sale of the scientific calculator by the Appellant under the name ‘ORPAT FX991ES PLUS’.
Senior Advocate K.V. Viswanathan, appearing for the Appellant, contended that the High Court committed an error in dismissing the Application by considering the same to have been filed only under Section 152 of the CPC. He submitted that the High Court ought to have considered the Application by referring to Order 23 Rule 3 read with Section 151 of the CPC.
The Respondents argued that there is no allegation of fraud or misrepresentation in arriving at the Settlement Agreement and the High Court was right in dismissing the Application seeking modification of the decree.
The division bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai noted that there were alterations that were proposed by the advocate for the Appellant during the course of correspondence, no objection was raised to the proposed terms of the Settlement Agreement communicated by the Advocate for the Respondent which ultimately was the final Settlement Agreement signed by the parties.
The court stated that a judgment by consent is intended to stop litigation between the parties just as much as a judgment resulting from a decision of the Court at the end of a long drawn out fight. A compromise decree creates an estoppel by judgment.
The court added that a consent decree would not serve as an estoppel, where the compromise was vitiated by fraud,misrepresentation, or mistake. The Court in exercise of its inherent power may rectify the consent decree to ensure that it is free from clerical or arithmetical errors so as to bring it in conformity with the terms of the compromise.
The court while dismissing the appeal upheld the judgment of the High Court and said that correspondence between the advocates for the parties who are experts in law would show that there is no ambiguity or lack of clarity giving rise to any misunderstanding.
Case title: Ajanta LLP v/s Casio Keisanki Kabushiki Kaisha d/b/a Casio Computer Co. Ltd. & Anr.
Citation: Civil Appeal No. 1052 of 2022