Says courts can’t deny justice in over-zealousness to dispose cases.
New Delhi: While giving its order on a trademark issue, the Delhi high court has said that courts must never deny justice to anyone in “over zealousness” to dispose cases. The court also said that “docket explosion” of matters is a problem for the judicial system to contend with.
A bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said this while setting aside a judgment passed by a single judge who had dismissed a suit filed by a petitioner seeking permanent injunction restraining infringement of a trademark allegedly by the respondent firm.
The bench noted that the single judge, in its verdict in August last year, had dismissed the suit at the admission stage itself without issuance of summons and “this, we are afraid, is contrary to the provisions of the statute”.
“Before concluding, we would like to make a brief comment on the court’s concern with ‘docket explosion’. No doubt, it is a problem for the judicial system to contend with. But, that does not concern the individual litigant who comes to court seeking justice,” the bench said.
“Our endeavour must never be to deny justice to anyone in our over zealousness to dispose cases. As Benjamin Franklin said — great haste makes great waste, courts while endeavouring to deliver speedy justice, must not hand out hasty decisions without any concern for justice,” it said.
The court observed that the single judge has made certain observations based on his “own research” without giving any opportunity of rebuttal to the petitioner.
“For all these reasons, the impugned judgment cannot be sustained at all. The same is set aside. The suit is restored and the same shall be proceeded with by the single judge in accordance with the law,” the bench said while allowing the appeal filed by the petitioner.
The petitioner, engaged in hotel business, had approached the high court claiming that the respondent firm was using the trademark “PRIVEE”, which was identical to or deceptively similar to their trademark — MBD PRIVE and PRIVE.
The suit by the petitioner had come up for hearing before a single judge in July 2016 and the court had dismissed the plea without issuing any summons to the respondent.
The single judge had observed that suits which are doomed to fail and of which there are no chances of success should be dismissed at whatever stage the court finds it to be so.
The division bench, while setting aside the verdict, noted that “a court may feel that case of a plaintiff is weak but that is no ground whatsoever for throwing out the suit lock, stock and barrel without giving the plaintiff an opportunity of proving and establishing its case”.