Delhi High Court: A suit was filed seeking a decree for permanent injunction restraining the defendants, their partners or proprietor, as the case may be, assigns in business, associates, employees, members of the family, licensees or anyone connected therewith from directly or indirectly securing registration or using the mark TOWER as a trade mark, trade name, domain name, hashtag, social media handle and email address or as a part thereof concerning goods in classes 29 or 30 or any other trade mark deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s registered trade mark TOWER or logo pertaining thereto amounting to infringement. A division bench of Suresh Kumar Kait and Shalinder Kaur, JJ., discharged the respondents from the proceedings and directed Bar Council of Delhi to take appropriate action, as per law against the said Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Advocate, if, he is found guilty of manufacturing the order dated 02-03-2016 purported to be by IPAB.
The suit also seeks a decree for permanent injunction restraining the Defendants, their partners or proprietor, as the case may be, assigns in business, associates, employees, members of the family, licensees or anyone connected therewith from directly or indirectly securing registration or using the mark TOWER as a trade mark/trade name/domain name/hashtag/social media handle/email address or as a part thereof concerning providing goods included in classes 29 and 30 or any other trade mark deceptively similar to the Plaintiff’s trade mark TOWER or logo pertaining thereto as is likely to lead to confusion and deception amounting to passing off the Defendants goods as those of the Plaintiff or unfair competition. It further seeks an order for the rendition of accounts of profits illegally earned by the defendants and a decree for an amount so found due or in the alternative, a decree for Rupees Two Crores Rs. 2,00,00,000 towards compensatory and penal damages may be passed in favour of the Plaintiff and against the Defendants and an order for exemplary costs of the present proceedings in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants.
A compilation of documents was placed on record which was believed to be a copy of an order passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board that formed the basis of the present proceedings. The list inter alia included a list of respondent’s pending and registered Trademarks, applications for registrations filed by the respondents, status of various applications, etc. As a result, vide order dated 24-11-2022, the Single Judge directed the Registrar (Vigilance) along with Registrar (Original Side) to conduct an inquiry into the matter about the authenticity of the said document and file a report in a sealed cover. After having perused the report, the Single Judge concluded that no records were available. Thus, the Single Judge exercised powers under Section 18 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and placed the matter before Chief Justice for reference to the appropriate Division Bench.
An unconditional apology affidavit was tendered by respondent 1 which categorically stated that “around end February/Early March, 2016, Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Advocate called respondent 1 to his office and asked him for more money to engage few other people for the matter which was informed to be listed the next day. Believing the said Advocate, since he had been working for the respondents for a considerable period, i.e., since 2008, and without any doubt or suspicion, he paid a further fee of Rs. 3,00,000/- in cash. Approximately one month from the said date, in early April 2016, Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal called respondent 1 to his office and upon reaching, he handed over the document of which the said document is a copy, which he said was a copy of the order passed by IPAB on 02.03.2016. No other documents were handed over by Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal to respondent 1 which was stated to be pending before the IPAB. Thereafter, he took the balance payment of Rs. 2,00,000/- (Rupees Two Lacs only) from the said respondent, in cash.”
The Court noted that after coming to know that the said document was manufactured, respondent 1 filed a complaint before the Bar Council of Delhi against Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Advocate. Counsel for respondents submitted that contempt was not intentional or deliberate, however, it was due to the copy of the order provided by Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Advocate.
The Court concluded that keeping in view the unconditional apology, tendered by respondents by way of affidavit, the respondents are discharged from these proceedings. The Court directed the Bar Council of Delhi to take appropriate action, as per the law against Advocate Sanjay Aggarwal for manufacturing of the document placed on record to support his case.
[Court on its motion v Vicky Aggarwal, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 7310, decided on 16-11-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. N. Hariharan, Sr. Adv. (Amicus Curiae) with Mr. Sharian Mukherji, Ms. Rekha Punya Angara and Mr. Mueed Shah, Advs. Mr. Vineet Dhanda, Advocate for petitioner
Mr. Prashant Mehta, Adv. for R- 1& 4.
Mr. Raghav Marwah, Adv. for R-2 and 5 to 8.
Mr. Vidit Gupta, Adv. for R- 3& 9.