Forum to decide Validity of Registration of Trade Mark

Jurisdiction of Civil Court is barred:

Section 111 of Trade Marks Act, 1958:

Section 111 of the 1958 Act specifically provides that if a proceeding for rectification of the register in relation to the trade mark of either the plaintiff or the defendant is pending before the Registrar or the High Court, as may be, and a suit for infringement is filed wherein the aforesaid plea is raised either by the defendant or by the plaintiff, the suit shall remain stayed. Section 111 further provides if no proceedings for rectification are pending on the date of filing of the suit and the issue of validity of the registration of the plaintiff’s or the defendant’s trade mark is raised/arises subsequently and the same is prima facie found to be tenable, an issue to the aforesaid effect shall be framed by the Civil Court and the suit will remain stayed for a period of three months from the date of framing of the issue so as to enable the concerned party to apply to the High Court for rectification of the register. Section 111(2) of the 1958 Act provides that in case an application for rectification is filed within the time allowed the trial of the suit shall remain stayed. Sub-Section (3) of Section 111 provides that in the event no such application for rectification is filed despite the order passed by the Civil Court, the plea with regard to validity of the registration of the trade mark in question shall be deemed to have been abandoned and the suit shall proceed in respect of any other issue that may have been raised therein. Sub-section (4) of Section 111 provides that the final order as may be passed in the rectification proceeding shall bind the parties and the civil court will dispose of the suit in conformity with such order insofar as the issue with regard to validity of the registration of the trade mark is concerned.

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National Litigation Policy to reduce litigation with Government

Unmindful litigation by Government Departments:

The propensity of Government Departments and public authorities to keep litigating through different tiers of judicial scrutiny is one of the reasons for docket explosion. The Income Tax Department of the Government of India is one of the major litigants. There are two departmental scrutinies at the level of the Assessing Officer and the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) and thereafter an independent judicial scrutiny at the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the ‘ITAT’) level followed by the legal issue which can be inquired into by the High Courts. The last tier is, of course, the jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India before the Supreme Court.

Mindful of the phenomenon of the docket explosion and the rising litigation in the country, the Union of India in order to ensure the conduct of responsible litigation framed what is today known as the National Litigation Policy, to bring down the pendency of cases and get meaningful issues decided from the judicial forums rather than multiple tiers of scrutiny just for the sake of it. The Government, being a litigant in well over 50 per cent of the cases, has to take a lead in not being a compulsive litigant. Continue reading “National Litigation Policy to reduce litigation with Government”

Restrictions on grant of bail under PMLA if valid

Section 45 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act is unconstitutional.

Section 45 of the 2002 Act, which was brought into force in 2005, originally read as follows:

“45. Offences to be cognizable and non- bailable.-

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),-

(a) every offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable;

(b) no person accused of an offence punishable for a term of imprisonment of more than three years under Part A of the Schedule shall be released on bail or on his own bond unless-

(i) the Public Prosecutor has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such release; and

(ii) where the Public Prosecutor opposes the application, the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail:

Provided that a person, who, is under the age of sixteen years, or is a woman or is sick or infirm, may be released on bail, if the Special Court so directs:

Provided further that the Special Court shall not take cognizance of any offence punishable under section 4 except upon a complaint in writing made by- (i) the Director; or (ii) any officer of the Central Government or a State Government authorised in writing in this behalf by the Central Government by a general or special order made in this behalf by that Government.

(2) The limitation on granting of bail specified in clause (b) of sub-section (1) is in addition to the limitations under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) or any other law for the time being in force on granting of bail.”

The change made by Section 45 is that, for the purpose of grant of bail, what was now to be looked at was offences that were punishable for a term of imprisonment of three years or more under Part A of the Schedule, and not offences under the 2002 Act itself. At this stage, Part A of the Schedule contained two paragraphs – Para 1 containing Sections 121 and 121A of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against the Government of India, and conspiracy to commit such offences. Paragraph 2 dealt with offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Part B of the Schedule, as originally enacted, referred to certain offences of a heinous nature under the Indian Penal Code, which included murder, extortion, kidnapping, forgery and counterfeiting. Paragraphs 2 to 5 of Part B dealt with certain offences under the Arms Act 1959, Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. When the Act was originally enacted, it was, thus, clear that the twin conditions applicable under Section 45(1) would only be in cases involving waging of war against the Government of India and offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Even the most heinous offences under the Indian Penal Code were contained only in Part B, so that if bail were asked for such offences, the twin conditions imposed by Section 45(1) would not apply. Incidentally, one of the reasons for classifying offences in Part A and Part B of the Schedule was that offences specified under Part B would get attracted only if the total value involved in such offences was Rs.30 lakhs or more (under Section 2(y) of the Act as it read then). Thereafter, the Act has been amended several times. The amendment made in 2005 in Section 45(1) was innocuous and is not an amendment with which we are directly concerned. The 2009 Amendment further populated Parts A and B of the Schedule. In Part A, offences under Sections 489 A and B of the Indian Penal Code, relating to counterfeiting were added and offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, which dealt with terrorist activities, were added. In Part B, several other offences were added from the Indian Penal Code, as were offences under the Explosives Act 1884, Antiquities and Arts Treasures Act 1972, Securities and Exchange Board of India Act 1992, Customs Act 1962, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, Emigration Act 1983, Passports Act 1967, Foreigners Act 1946, Copyright Act 1957, Trademarks Act 1999, Information Technology Act 2000, Biological Diversity Act 2002, Protection of Plant and Farmers Rights Act 2001, Environmental Protection Act 1986, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution Act) 1974, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution Act) 1981 and Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms of Continental Shelf Act, 2002.

By the Amendment Act of 2012, which is Act 2 of 2013, a very important amendment was made to the Schedule by which the entire Part B offences were transplanted into Part A.

Unreasonable classification

The classification of three years or more of offences contained in Part A of the Schedule must have a reasonable relation to the object sought to be achieved under the 2002 Act. Continue reading “Restrictions on grant of bail under PMLA if valid”

Contradictory defence of tenancy and adverse possession in a suit for possession

Pleading and Proof:

Plea of being tenant raised for the first time in second appeal:

First, the respondent (defendant) had not raised such plea in his written statement. In other words, the respondent did not set up such defense in the written statement.

Second, the Trial Court, therefore, had no occasion to frame any issue on such plea for want of any factual foundation in the written statement.

Third, the Trial Court and First Appellate Court, in these circumstances, had no occasion to record any finding on this plea either way.

Fourth, in the light of these three reasonings, the High Court ought to have seen that such plea really did not arise for consideration because in order that any question is involved in the case, the party concerned should lay its factual foundation in the pleading and invite finding on such plea. Continue reading “Contradictory defence of tenancy and adverse possession in a suit for possession”

Summon of witnesses in Criminal Trial: Powers of Court

Power to summon material witness, or examine person present.

Section 311 of Criminal Procedure Code provides as under:

Any Court may, at any stage of any inquiry, trial or other proceeding under this Code, summon any person as a witness, or examine any person in attendance, though not summoned as a witness, or. recall and re- examine any person already examined; and the Court shall summon and examine or recall and re- examine any such person if his evidence appears to it to be essential to the just decision of the case.

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Reduced sentence due to ill health and advance age

Considerations for sentence:

Conviction under Prevention of Corruption Act:

On thorough examination of the entire evidence on record and after considering the submissions made by the prosecution and the defence, the trial court convicted the Appellant and the other two accused under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and Sections 13 (1)(c) and (d) of the PC Act. The Appellant was sentenced to undergo three years rigorous imprisonment for the offences punishable under the IPC and two years imprisonment for the offences punishable under the PC Act to run concurrently by taking note of the fact that the Appellant had already retired from service. The trial court further took notice of the age of the Petitioner and his ill-health while imposing the sentence. The Appellant along with the other two accused filed an Appeal in the High Court. The High Court scrutinised the entire evidence on record. After examining the submissions made by the counsel of both sides, the High Court found no fault with the judgment of the trial court and affirmed the same.

We have examined the judgments of the courts below and we are of the opinion that there is no error committed in holding the Appellant guilty of the offences alleged. Both the courts below have thoroughly examined the oral as well as documentary evidence on record and dealt with the submissions made on behalf of the defence in a detailed manner. It is settled law that this Court need not re-appreciate evidence while affirming the judgments of the courts below in criminal cases.

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Remand of suit for retrial due to mistrial

What constituted Mistrial of suit?

In our considered opinion, the need to remand the aforementioned two LGCs to the Special Court is considered necessary due to the following reasons:

Non-consolidation of identical suits:

First, we find that the trial of the two cases before the Special Court was not satisfactory inasmuch as when admittedly two LGCs (41/1994 and 50/2004) arising between the same parties and in relation to the same piece of suit land were filed for grant of identical reliefs under the Act then, in our view, both the cases should have been clubbed together for their disposal on merits in accordance with law to avoid any conflicting decision in both the cases.

It was more so when both the cases were capable of being clubbed together because both were pending though filed one after the other, neither the parties nor the Courts below took note of this with the result, the same resulted in passing two conflicting orders – one was decreed and the other suffered dismissal. This recourse adopted by the Court below caused prejudice to the parties and, especially, to the party who lost the case. Continue reading “Remand of suit for retrial due to mistrial”

Levy of Education cess where Excise Duty is exempt.

Refund of education cess where service tax or excise duty is nil:

Circular is dated April 08, 2011 issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs, New Delhi on the subject “education cess and secondary and higher education cess-reg. is as under:

“Education Cess and Secondary and Higher Education Cess also exempted when notifications exempt whole of Service tax Circular No. 134/3/2011-S.T., dated 8-4-2011 F.No. 354/42/2011-Tru Government of India Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) Central Board of Excise & Customs, New Delhi Subject : Education Cess and Secondary and Higher Education Cess – Reg.

Representations have been received from the field formations, seeking clarification regarding the applicability of service tax exemption to Education Cess (refers to both Education Cess leviable under Finance (No.2) Act, 2004 and Secondary and Higher Education Cess leviable under Finance Act, 2007), under notifications where ‘whole of service tax’ stands.exempted. Apparently the doubt arises in the context of Tribunal’s Order in the matter of MIs.

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Non supply of Enquiry Report does not vitiate order of dismissal

Effect of non-supply of Enquiry Report to dismissed employee:

Test of prejudice:

When the employee is dismissed or removed from service and the inquiry is set aside because the report is not furnished to him, in some cases the non-furnishing of the report may have prejudiced him gravely while in other cases it may have made no difference to the ultimate punishment awarded to him. Hence to direct reinstatement of the employee with back-wages in all cases is to reduce the rules of justice to a mechanical ritual.

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