Dragging a child in litigation driven by commercial interest between two competing coaching institutions cannot be permitted; Delhi High Court refuses relief to Fitjee Limited

delhi high court

Delhi High Court: A suit was filed by Fitjee Limited (plaintiff), seeking a declaration, permanent and mandatory injunction declaring that defendant 6 has excelled in the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) 2023 (“JEE Mains”) due to the coaching imparted by the plaintiff from May 2019 to October 2022. Chandra Dhari Singh, J., refuses relief to the plaintiff as prayed as there is only an apprehension that the defendants may claim the credit without any substantial and strong case presented on behalf of the plaintiff.

The petitioner, FIITJEE Limited is a Company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 running its coaching centers under the name and style of ‘ALLEN Career Institute’. Defendant 6 is an IIT aspirant. It is the case of the plaintiff that defendant no. 6 opted for the “Four Year Classroom Program for IIT-JEE (Advanced)-Weekend Contact Classes‟. In January 2023, the results of JEE (Mains), 2023 were declared for Session I exam and the plaintiff qualified the same.

Thus, aggrieved by the fact that defendants 1 to 5 were claiming credit for the result of defendant 6, the instant suit was filed.

The Court noted that while adjudicating upon a claim regarding temporary injunction under Order XXXIX of the Civil Procedure Code, the Court is to be satisfied with the three well-settled tests of strong prima facie and balance of convenience in favour of the applicant and irreparable injury likely to be caused to him.

The Court further noted that the entire case of the plaintiff in the instant application is based on the apprehension that the defendant 1 to 5 will claim the credit of the training actually imparted by the plaintiff. Admittedly, defendant 6 is no longer enrolled with the plaintiff. In fact, he ceased to be their student prior to even appearing for the JEE Mains on his own accord and, being a minor, with the consent of his parents. Therefore, any interview or statement that may be given by him qua his examinations or the results thereto will anyway not include the history of his studies and will not in any manner prejudice, injure or affect the plaintiff irreparably.

The Court also noted that institutions like the plaintiff, intake thousands of students every year who appear for competitive examinations and often the students may decide to drop or discontinue the coaching. There is no reason strong enough in favour of the plaintiff which would invite the grant of an injunction by the Court under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the CPC, when the plaintiff has failed to satisfy the tests settled in law.

The Court concluded that there is nothing to show that a renowned institute like the plaintiff has to be apprehensive about which shall bring any kind of bad name to it. The institute is only apprehensive that certain time the student has spent with them will not be rewarded by way of commercial accreditation and validation, which in the opinion of the Court does not warrant a relief from temporary injunction as stipulated under Order XXXIX of the CPC.

Thus, the Court held that no relief accrues to the plaintiff under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the CPC as there is only an apprehension that the defendants may claim credit without any substantial and strong case presented on behalf of the plaintiff.

[Fitjee Limited v Allen Education and Management Services Private Limited, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 3608, decided on 12-06-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Rajat Aneja, Mr. Ajay Saroya and Mr. Sudhir Katpalia, Advocates for the Plaintiff;

Ms. Archana Pathak Dave and Mr. Kumar Prashant, Advocates for D1-D5, Ms. Ankita Chaudhary Rathi, Advocate for the D6.

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