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CM (M) 225/2021 and CM No. 10177/2021

Decided On: 12.10.2021

Appellants: Intiyaz Sheikh
Respondent: Puma Se

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Amit Bansal


Amit Bansal, J.

1. The present petition was filed impugning the order dated 29th January, 2021 of the District Judge (Commercial), South East, Saket, New Delhi in CS(COMM.) No. 323/2019, of dismissal of the application of the petitioner/defendant under Order VIII Rule 1 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.

2. 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, inter alia inspect the premises of the petitioner/defendant and take into custody all infringing goods at the said premises.

3. This petition was heard along with CM(M) 132/2021, wherein a detailed judgment dated 10th August, 2021 was passed by a Division Bench of this Court (of which I was a part) holding, inter alia that:

(i) a petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India arising out of a commercial suit filed before the District Judge is maintainable, however, the exercise of such jurisdiction by the High Court is discretionary; and

(ii) exercise of such discretion is vested with the Single Judge of this Court as per current roster allocation.

4. In terms of the aforesaid judgment, this petition came up for hearing before this Bench.

5. Learned counsel for the petitioner has contended that summons were received by the petitioner without a copy of the plaint and the documents on 6th June, 2019. On 19th September, 2019, when the counsel for the petitioner appeared before the Commercial Court, upon directions of the court, the complete set of suit paper book was provided to the petitioner and it was directed that written statement be filed within four weeks. The petitioner could not file written statement in the aforesaid time period due to various factors and the written statement was filed by the petitioner on 11th December, 2019, which was within the condonable period of 120 days provided under Order VIII Rule 1 of the CPC, as applicable to commercial suits. On 26th February, 2020, an application was filed on behalf of the petitioner seeking condonation of delay in filing the written statement.

6. Counsel for the petitioner has vehemently contended that since the complete set of the plaint was only provided to the petitioner on 19th September, 2019, the time limit for filing written statement would start from the aforesaid date and in view of the fact that the written statement has been filed within 90 days from the aforesaid date, the same should have been taken on record. Counsel for the petitioner has relied upon the judgment dated 28th August, 2019 passed by a Single Bench of this Court in CS(COMM.) 1092/2018 titled Redbull India AG Vs. Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd. & Anr., wherein the written statement of the defendant therein, filed within the outer limit prescribed under Order VIII Rule 1 of the CPC as applicable to commercial suits, was taken on record despite the fact that no application for condonation of delay had been filed.

7. Per contra, the counsel appearing on........