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What If Parties Resile From A Statement Given In Court?

Many times, a party gives a statement in court.
  • What is the sanctity of such a statement given by a party in a court proceeding?
  • Can a party be allowed to act in contravention of a statement given in a judicial proceeding?
  • 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 H.J.
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 matter.

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

Order Date:02.08.2022
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], 9990389539

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