Many times, a party gives a statement in court.
- What is the sanctity of such a statement given by a party in a court
- Can a party be allowed to act in contravention of a statement given in a
- If the answer is no, then what the court is required to do in the case
of such a contravention?
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi was having an occasion to deal with such a
situation in a commercial suit bearing CS (Comm) No.108 of 2021 titled as
Victoria Foods Pvt. Ltd. vs. Rajdhani Masala Company.
This suit was filed by the plaintiff claiming proprietary rights in trademark
RAJDHANI in relation to products such as cereals, grains, basmati rice, atta,
spices etc. since the year 1966.
In addition to holding various international trademark registrations, the
Plaintiff was the registered proprietor of the trademark RAJDHANI in relation to
spices and other products in classes 29, 31, and 32 in India.
The subject matter suit was filed by the Plaintiff against the Defendants
seeking relief of infringement and passing off against the use of RAJDHANI
Coriander Powder, RAJDHANI Chilli Powder, RAJDHANI Turmeric Powder, etc.
Despite the fact that the Defendants claimed to have used the trade mark
RAJDHANI since 1965, no documents were filed to support their claim.
Accordingly, the Plaintiff was held to be a prior adopter and prior user of the
subject matter trademark RAJDHANI and an order was passed restraining the
Defendants from using RAJDHANI Coriander Powder, RAJDHANI Chilli Powder,
RAJDHANI Turmeric Powder, etc.
The defendants filed an appeal against this order, which was pending
adjudication. The Plaintiff filed an application under Order 39 2A CPC as, in
spite of the injunction order, the defendants' products were available on the
market. Accordingly, a Local Commissioner was appointed to investigate the
The Local Commissioner visited the premise of the defendant and submitted a
report according to which the defendants were still found to be indulged in the
infringing activities in spite of the passing of the restraint order.
When the matter was listed before the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi, they made a
statement that they were willing to resolve the matter finally and were also
willing to change their trademark from RAJDHANI to RMC.
However, on the next day, they resiled from the statement made to the court and
insisted on pursuing the appeal already filed before the Hon'ble Division Bench
,High Court of Delhi. Para 15, 16
On June 2, 2021, when the matter was listed before the Hon'ble High Court of
Delhi, the same observed as under:
8. After having heard detailed submissions for the last three hearings, in view
of the conduct of the defendant as recorded previously and in view of the manner
in which the Defendants have sought to resile from the submissions made
yesterday, i.e., on June 1, 2022, by Ld. Sr. counsel appearing for the
Defendants, this Court is, prima facie, of the opinion that the Defendants have
brazenly violated the orders passed by this Court by manufacturing, selling, and
offering for sale products branded as' Rajdhani' spices and masalas, post the
injunction order dated September 1, 2021.
Thus, we have seen that the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi sought to initiate
contempt of court proceedings against the Defendants and gave opportunities to
file a reply.
Another important aspect of this case was that the defendants were also found to
be in possession of expired products of various other famous trademarks, e.g.,
Tata, Catch, etc.
When the contempt proceeding was scheduled for hearing, the Defendants tendered
unconditional apology by filing an affidavit.
Given the fact that they had earlier resiled from the statement given in court
and, in spite of the injunction order, they kept on selling the impugned
products, the cost of Rs. 30 lakhs was imposed on the defendant for committing
contempt of court. Para 18 (8).
Thus, it is apparent that the Hon'ble Courts do not take withdrawal of a
statement given by a party before the court lightly.
The Hon'ble Courts do have a mechanism to punish such parties for contempt of
court. Though in the present case, only monetary costs are imposed, the courts
can equally send such parties for civil imprisonment as well.
Case Law Discussed:
Victoria Foods Pvt. Ltd. Vs Rajdhani Masala Company
Suit No. CS(Comm) 108 of 2021
Delhi High Court
Prathiba M Singh, H.J.
Written By: Ajay Amitabh Suman,
IPR Advocate, Hon'ble High Court of Delhi
Email: [email protected]