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Intiyaz Sheikh vs Puma Se - (High Court of Delhi) (12 Oct 2021)

In the absence of an application seeking condonation of delay, the written statement could not be taken on record



The present petition was filed impugning the order of the District Judge (Commercial), dismissing of the application of the Petitioner/defendant under Order VIII Rule1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) for condonation of delay in filing the written statement. The said application was dismissed vide the impugned order, on the ground that the Commercial Courts, under the law have no power to extend the period of 120 days for filing the written statement.

The suit from which the present petition arises was filed by the Respondent/Plaintiff before the District Judge (Commercial Court), seeking permanent injunction to restrain the petitioner/defendant from selling goods under the mark 'PUMA' and logo and other ancillary reliefs. Vide order dated 15th February, 2019, the Commercial Court granted an ex parte ad interim injunction in the suit, in favour of the respondent/plaintiff and also appointed a Local Commissioner to, inspect the premises of the petitioner/defendant and take into custody all infringing goods at the said premises.

In Friends Motel Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Shreeved Consultancy LLP & Ors., this Court was seized of a situation where the application for condonation of delay was not filed within the overall time limited of 120 days and this Court held that in the absence of an application seeking condonation of delay, the written statement could not have been taken on record.

Admittedly, in the present case, though the written statement was filed on 11th December, 2019 the condonation of delay application was filed only on 26th February, 2020, as an afterthought. No reasons have been given as to why application for condonation of delay was not filed with the written statement and was filed only on 26th February, 2020. In fact, it noted in the order 15th January, 2020 of the Commercial Court that the petitioner has not filed any application for condonation of delay in filing the written statement. Yet the application was filed after almost 40 days thereafter.

Even in the application for condonation of delay filed by the Petitioner, no sufficient grounds have been given for delay in filing the written statement. Only vague and unsubstantiated averments have been made, that the petitioner was prevented from filing the written statement on time on account of strike of lawyers and the petitioner receiving threats of bodily harm. No documents were filed before the Commercial Court in support of the said ground of bodily harm.

In the present case, the Petitioner has neither made out sufficient cause nor demonstrated any extraordinary circumstances in support of condoning the delay. The Supreme Court, in Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprises Ltd. Vs. K.S. Infraspace has observed that, the provisions of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 have to be strictly construed and if the provisions are given liberal interpretation, the object behind the enactment, of speedy disposal, will be defeated. No ground is made out for interference of this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, 1950. Petition dismissed.


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