Maintain confidentiality of sensitive documents [Confidential]

While hearing an appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 which is directed against the order dated 5th June 2015 passed by the Principal Judge, Family Court, Saket, Division Bench of Honourable High Court of Delhi constituted by S. Muralidhar and I.S. Mehta JJ, dealt with a serious issue of infringement of Right to Privacy.

It was a case where the attorneys produced very sensitive documents such as personal diary of the children of the parties to this case. However, court was of the opinion that, contents of the document reflect inter alia the very private and personal feelings and opinions of a young child about his parents, sibling, friends and relatives. It is not something which should be casually placed in the public domain as it is bound to violate the right to privacy of not only the author of the ‘personal diary’ but others whose names and conduct find mention therein and is likely to affect the author’s relationships with them. Accordingly court issued following directions;

  1. Where a party in a case seeks to rely upon a document (sensitive documents) which in his or her assessment or the assessment of the party’s lawyer is of a sensitive nature, viz., which contains details of a personal or private nature concerning a party or a person or their conduct, which when disclosed is likely to affect the right to privacy, or cause embarrassment, then such party and/or the lawyer of such party will first apply to the Court seeking leave to produce such document in a sealed cover. Till such time that leave is granted the contents of the said document shall not be extracted in the pleadings or a copy of the whole or part thereof enclosed with the petition. For this purpose a document would include any writing, private letters, notings, photographs, and documents in electronic form including video clips, text messages, chat details, emails, printed copies thereof, CCTV footage
  2. Where upon a party applying under (i) above, or where any other party, or the Family Court on its own, comes across a document on record in the case which is prima facie of a sensitive nature, viz., which contains details of a personal or private nature concerning a party or a person or their conduct, which when disclosed is likely to affect the right to privacy, or cause embarrassment, the Family Court will pass appropriate orders concerning the said document including providing copies thereof to the parties, preserving the originals or copies as the case may be in a sealed cover, de-sealing for being produced during Court proceedings and re-sealing after the purpose for which they are directed to be produced is over.
  3. The Family Court will also bind down by specific directions, the parties and their respective lawyers, and the Court staff regarding the making of copies, use, preservation and dissemination of such document with a view to maintaining its confidentiality. The Family Court can also pass necessary directions to specify the conditions upon which access would be permitted to such document by third parties.
  4. The Family Court will endeavour to decide on the issues at (i) (ii) and (iii) above, without unnecessary delay, in accordance with law. The above directions are in the nature of broad guidelines and can be suitably modified and adapted/applied to a given situation by the Family Court. The Family Court will, however, at all times keep in view the requirements of protecting the rights to privacy and dignity of the parties and persons.
  5. The Family Court should as far as possible and practicable invoke the power under Section 11 of the Family Courts Act 1984 and hold the proceedings in camera. Where the circumstances so warrant, the Family Court may in the orders uploaded on the website or made available otherwise, suitably anonymize the names of the parties.

Court further made it clear that, unless there is a specific order of the Family Court, or where the party thinks it to be absolutely essential, or where suitable alternative arrangements are unable to be made, parties should avoid bringing children to the Family Court on a routine basis. Lawyers should also advise their clients in this regard since repeated visits to Courts to witness the legal contests between and among parents and relatives is not desirable or conducive for the healthy development of children.

Read the full judgment of X v. Z, MAT.APP.(F.C.) 78/2015, decided on June 11, 2015 (Delhi High Court)

14% Service Tax on Liquor Makers – Delhi High Court Refuses to Stay

Delhi High Court
While considering the plea filed by the liquor companies seeking an interim stay on the May 19 notification to ensure that the tax was not levied, Delhi High Court has refused to stay a Government Notification which brings into force from June 1 the levy of 14 per cent service tax on manufacture of alcohol on contractual basis.

Petitioners challenged the amendments made to the Finance Act 2015 by which service tax is going to be levied on those who manufacture alcohol for human consumption on “job-work basis”.

However, bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev  Sachdeva said, while disagreeing the contentions of the petitioners observed that, “prima facie there is a service. There is a scent of service.”

Though the Stay was refused, Court issued notice to the Centre and city government and sought their responses on the liquor makers’ plea which also contended that the government cannot levy service tax on them as it fell under the ambit of the states.

Breaking: Interim relief to

Justice Manmohan Singh of Delhi High Court while granting an interim relief to, restrained Make My Tours Pvt Ltd and others from using “deceptively similar” trademark and logo for travel bookings. Court restrained Make My Tours and others from using ‘deceptively similar’ trademark till February 13, i.e., the next date of hearing.

“From comparison of the marks” it is clear that the impugned marks used by the defendants are not only virtually identical but are also “colorable imitation” of the logos, court said. Court while considering the facts of the present case as well as settled law applicable to the present case, opined that the plaintiff has been able to make out a strong prima facie case in its favour and the balance of convenience also lies in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants.

Court observed that, “use of the impugned marks (Makemytours, and the logo) by the defendants would cause irreparable loss and injury to plaintiff, in case interim order is not passed. Accordingly, till the next date of hearing (February 13, 2015), defendants, jointly and severally, by themselves, their partners, servants, agents, representatives and all those acting in concert with them or claiming under or through them or otherwise howsoever, are restrained from using the impugned marks (Makemytours, and the logo)…”.

AIIMS to treat a 13 year old boy suffering spinal tuberculosis

Delhi High Court directed AIIMS to provide immediate treatment to a 13-year-old boy suffering from spinal tuberculosis and asked not to delay the child’s surgery by waiting for completion of formalities to get financial assistance from Delhi Arogya Nidhi/Kosh.

It was a case where the hospital authorities mandated the boy’s family to produce all certificates for completion of formalities. Subsequently, boy’s father moved a Writ petition before the Delhi High Court and stated that, his family had an annual income of less than Rs.1 Lac and had been provided the national food security card.

Boy’s father further submitted that, he did not have his income certificate and his son’s birth certificate, which were being demanded by AIIMS for providing an estimate certificate. However, the counsel for AIIMS said intimated the Court that the petitioner’s family would have to provide the documents required for completion of formalities.

Court observed in its Order that, the boy required urgent surgery and fulfilled the eligibility requirements for availing of benefits under the Delhi Arogya Nidhi/Kosh. Accordingly, Court directed the hospital authority to issue an estimate certificate indicating the amount of expenditure required without insisting upon either the income certificate or the birth certificate.

It was specifically noted that, “If the attending doctors are of the opinion that a surgery is required urgently, AIIMS shall proceed to provide medical assistance and conduct surgery without waiting for completion of formalities.” However, while granting the relief, the Court recorded an undertaking of the petitioner’s counsel that, petitioner would complete the necessary formalities and apply to the authorities concerned for issuance of the required certificates within a week.

Medical Reimbursement of Judges not covered under RTI

Justice Vibhu Bakhru of Delhi High Court, while setting aside a CIC (Central Information Commission) order, asking the apex court to maintain details of medical reimbursement availed by each judges of the apex court during last three years and such information shall be furnished to the information seekers. Since, Medical records of reimbursements of judges’ does not serve any public interest, Delhi High Court held that, such information cannot be disclosed under RTI Act.
High Court while terming the CIC (Central Information Commission) ruling as “erroneous” and said that, “medical records are not liable to be disclosed unless it is shown that the same is in larger public interest, and in the present case, the CIC has completely overlooked this aspect of the matter.”

It was a case where, the apex court responded to the RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal that, Supreme Court does not keep records of medical reimbursement of individual judges and, declined to furnish him the information under the transparency Act. Subsequently, Subhash Chandra Agrawal moved an appeal before the Central Information Commission, seeking directions to the Supreme Court to make necessary arrangements to maintain details of medical reimbursement made to judges.

However, the Supreme Court refused to furnish information, citing a stay by Delhi High Court in a similar case, prompting Agarwal to once again approach Central Information Commission. Subsequently, Central Information Commission directed the apex court to place the order before the Secretary General of the Supreme Court so that he can ensure its compliance.

Supreme Court subsequently moved to High Court in appeal, and the Court stressed that, “any information relating to the medical records would be personal information which is exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1) (j) of the Act. The medical bills would indicate the treatment and/or medicines required by individuals and this would clearly be an invasion of the privacy.”

CCI not to take any action against Hyundai

Madras High Court has asked the Competition Commission of India (CCI) not to proceed with any action against Hyundai. Hyundai is among one of the 14 carmakers slapped with a combined penalty of Rs 2,554 crore for failing to sell spare parts in the open market.

Hyundai moved the High Court against the summons issued by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Upon hearing the submissions made by Hyundai, the Court reversed the Order and directed the Competition Commission of India not to proceed further with the matter till the final order is pronounced by the court.

Hyundai contended before the Court that, Director General of Competition Commission of India did not have the power to initiate investigation and that no materials, facts or figures were produced by Competition Commission of India. Hyundai further questioned the “selective approach” by Competition Commission of India, whose order excluded 12 original equipment manufacturers, including Renault, Jaguar and Volvo.

As reported by the Business Standard, other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), which includes, Maruti, Hyundai, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, BMW etc. have approached other various courts on the same issue. BMW, Maruti Suzuki India and Mercedes-Benz approached the Delhi High Court against the order. Delhi High Court in turn stayed a Rs 471.14 crore fine imposed on Maruti Suzuki, by the Competition Commission of India. Further, staying the Competition Commission of India’s order against BMW and Mercedes-Benz for three weeks Court asked them to move the Madras High Court, which was already hearing the matter for other OEMs.

Competition Commission of India earlier imposed penalties on Mahindra, Tata Motors, Hyundai Motor India Pvt Ltd, Toyota Kirloskar, Honda, Volkswagen India, Fiat, Ford India, General Motors India, Nissan Motor India, Hindustan Motors, Mercedes-Benz India, Maruti Suzuki, Skoda Auto India and BMW.

Advocate sentenced to Jail for abusing Woman Colleague

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and Adarsh K Goel of the Apex Court send a strong signal against incidents of harassment of women particularly in court premises, while dismissing an appeal by a lawyer against a week-long jail term in a case of misdemeanour against a woman colleague in Delhi High Court in 2012.

Apex Court has upheld imprisonment of an advocate who had been sentenced to seven days imprisonment for criminal contempt charges, where he allegedly abused and slapped a woman lawyer during proceeding before the joint registrar. Way back in January 13, 2012 advocate is accused of physically abusing a female colleague and behaving indecently during a hearing before a High Court Registrar.

High Court on the same day acting suo motu sent the accused to jail for a week and debarred him from practising in any Delhi court for three months. Further, court also directed the Bar Council of India, which is the apex disciplinary authority for lawyers, to take necessary action against the accused.

Earlier High Court convicted the accused saying that, his actions had interfered with judicial procedure, obstructed justice and lowered the majesty of the Court; the high court had convicted him of contempt of court. However, in his appeal to the Apex Court, he challenged the High Court order on the ground that, his conduct did not strictly fall under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, and the incident took place when the two lawyers were working together and the registrar was not present. Further, he submitted that, the incident happened on the spur of the moment and his client regretted his behaviour and any disciplinary action against him could come only from the Bar Council and not the court.

Xiaomi can now sell its phones in India

A division bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice RK Gauba of Delhi High Court allowed Xiaomi Technology India Pvt. Ltd to import and sell its phones in India till January 8. However, Court made it clear that Xiaomi can sell only those devices in India, which use chipsets which are running on Qualcomm processors, a licensee of Ericsson said the Court.

Earlier A Single Bench of Delhi High Court passed an order banning Xiaomi smartphones in India due to patent infringement complaints by Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. The present order of Delhi High Court also extended to e-commerce website, which had an exclusive arrangement with Xiaomi for flash sales of its handsets in India.

Xiaomi Technology India Pvt. Ltd challenged the order passed by the Single Bench which banned the sale of its handsets here in India, saying it has not infringed Ericsson’s patents as Qualcomm has obtained a licence from the Ericsson for its patented technology.

The bench, while ‘striking a balance’ between the rights of Ericsson and Xiaomi, allowed the Chinese firm to sell its Qualcomm chipset-based devices while directing it to deposit Rs 100 per device imported in the name of Registrar General of the Delhi High Court.

In the present order, Court also asked Xiaomi Technology India Pvt. Ltd that, imports made in January 2015 would likewise be disclosed by way of an affidavit and Rs 100 per device deposited in the name of Registrar General of this court by February 3, 2015. However, interim ban on import and sale of Xiaomi devices which run on other processors or chipsets shall continue, the court clarified.

Moods XXX condom and the Trademark dispute

If alleged offender was not aware of the existence of a registered trade mark and admits the mistake at the threshold, it could not be compelled to pay damages and rendition of accounts, Delhi High Court said in a suit which was filed by DKT India against HLL Lifecare Limited. It would save the time of the court and the award of damages would be harsh and unjustified, court said.

It is a case, where the plaintiff filed suit against Bajaj Medicose, a distributor of HLL Lifecare Limited (A Government of India Enterprise) which is the largest manufacturer of condoms in the world, seeking permanent injunction restraining the defendants from infringing, passing off their trademark XXX and damages to the tune of Rs.45 Lacs. Plaintiff alleged that, HLL Lifecare’s Moods XXX condom was in violation of Plaintiff’s XXX condoms.

When the suit and the interim applications were listed before Court, an adjournment was sought by the learned counsel for the plaintiff seeking leave to amend the memo of parties by impleading defendant No.2 as defendant No.1 and substitute defendant No.1 as defendant No.2, while also asking for liberty to file certain undertakings that have taken place post filing of the suit. The suit was re-notified from time to time.

It appears from the orders passed by the Courts from time to time that the defendants were keen to settle the matter amicably by giving the undertaking. However, the matter was adjourned from time to time. The plaintiff, on the other hand, despite of exchanging the e-mails between the parties did not place all the material facts before this Court and filed the suit. Had the matter could have been resolved in view of the exchange of correspondence between the parties by e-mails, the question of filing the suit ought not to have arisen.

Defendant No.2 has also filed an affidavit, stating therein that he is simply a retailer running a small medical shop in Delhi and is not selling the said products, i.e. condoms bearing the trademark MOODS XXX. It is further stated in the affidavit that defendant No.2 shall not sell the same in future.

A perusal of Section 135 (b) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 lays down that if at the time of commencement of the use of trade mark in the suit, a party was unaware and had no reasonable ground for believing that the trademark of the plaintiff was on the register or when he becomes aware of the existence and nature of the plaintiff’s right in the trade mark forthwith ceases to use the said trade mark in relation to such goods, the Court shall not grant relief by way of damages (other than normal damages) or on account of profits.

Similarly proviso to Section 55(1) of the Copyright Act, provides that if the defendant proves that at the date of the infringement he was not aware and had no reasonable ground for believing that copyright subsisted in the work, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to any remedy other than an injunction in respect of the infringement and a decree for the whole or part of the profits made by the defendant by the sale of the infringing copies as the court may in the circumstances deem reasonable.

Section 22 (2) (b) of the Designs Act, 2000 provides that if the proprietor elects to bring a suit for the recovery of damages for any (such) contravention, and for an injunction against the repetition thereof, the person (who acts in contravention of the section) shall be liable to pay such damages as may be awarded and to be restrained by injunction accordingly. Provided that the total sum recoverable in respect of any one design, under clause (a) shall not exceed fifty thousand rupees.

Having considered the overall facts and circumstances, Court considered view that the stand taken by the plaintiff to claim the damages to the tune of Rs.45 Lacs is unreasonable, as it appears to the Court that even before or after filing of the suit, defendant No.1 was ready to resolve the disputes between the parties. Under these circumstances, Court is not inclined to accept the submissions of the learned counsel for the plaintiff to ask the defendant No.1 to pay the damages to the tune of Rs.45 Lacs in view of peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case.

The government firm admitted its mistake and undertook not to use the name. It offered Rs 1 Lacs to DKT. But the latter was not satisfied. The high court stated that the government company was willing to settle the dispute amicably throughout and had stopped the sale of the brand. Therefore, the demand of a huge compensation was unjustifiable. Moreover, the Trade Marks Act and the Copyright Act take a liberal view in such cases.