delhi high court

Delhi High Court: In a suit filed by Plaintiff 1, Trading Corporation of Pakistan Pvt. Ltd., Plaintiff 2, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan and Plaintiff 3, Basmati Growers Association, for grant of permanent injunction against the Defendant, Government of India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (‘GOI’) to restrain the Defendant from permitting exports of rice under the name ‘SUPER BASMATI’ and infringement of Plaintiffs’ trade name, label, classification, brand or variety of ‘SUPER BASMATI’, Prathiba M. Singh, J.*, dismissed the suit for non-prosecution as there was no appearance on behalf of the Plaintiffs, and the suit had not been prosecuted effectively since 2020.

Plaintiffs filed the suit seeking an order permanent injunction directing the Defendant to not give effect to the Gazette Notification dated 24-05-2006 which permitted the export of evolved Basmati rice or any rice from India under the name, variety, classification or trade name of ‘SUPER BASMATI’ and also to restrain the Defendant, their partners, servants, agents, representatives, exporters from India and all other who acted in concert with them to take legislative, regulatory or administrative action in furtherance of this Notification and from using the name ‘SUPER BASMATI’ in relation to export of rice from India.

Plaintiffs submitted that the export of rice under name ‘SUPER BASMATI’ constituted ‘passing off’ of the Plaintiffs’ transborder reputation. However, the Plaintiffs stopped appearing before the Court, with effect from 3-9-2020. The Defendant submitted that Basmati had also been registered as a geographical indication (GI) under the provisions of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 in India on 15-2-2016. The Defendant submitted that as per Notification dated 18-9-2017 issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, the seed production of all varieties of Basmati rice notified under Section 5 of the Seeds Act, 1966 was restricted to the GI registered rice growing areas of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, parts of Uttar Pradesh and State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Court dismissed the suit for non-prosecution as there was no appearance on behalf of the Plaintiffs, and the suit had not been prosecuted effectively since 2020.

[Trading Corporation of Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 7562, decided on 28-11-2023]

*Judgement authored by: Justice Prathiba M. Singh


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Defendant: Akshay Amritanshu, Rajendra Kumar, Jithin George, Ashutosh Jain and Anjali Kumari Advocates with Sandeep Verma, Under Secretary, Department of Commerce and Tarun Bajaj, Director, APEDA

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