Allegations Of Forum Shopping: Delhi HC Bars Listing Of Certain IPR Suits Before 3 Judicial Officers [Read Order]
Taking note of allegations of forum shopping involving three judges, the Delhi High Court on Monday directed that IPR cases filed by certain litigants be not listed before the three judges—Mukesh Kumar, Veena Rani and Chandrasekhar.
The Bench comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice IS Mehta also directed that before allowing any applications for marking/ listing henceforth, the District & Sessions Judge must call for the judicial records of the suits/ proceedings already pending, and the fresh suits/ proceedings sought to be instituted and got marked/ listed before a particular Judicial Officer, so as to satisfy himself that the application has been moved justifiably.
The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by M/s Capital Ventures Limited against KRBL Limited and its officials. Capital Ventures had alleged that the same counsel representing the respondents had moved repeated applications in different suits to have it listed before “particular judicial officers”— Mukesh Kumar, Veena Rani and Chandrashekhar.
The petition had further claimed that the respondents had, thereby, obtained “favourable orders”— such that they were not entitled on merits— from these judicial officers. Taking note of the allegations, the court observed,
“The grievance highlighted in the present contempt petition as well as in the intervention application raises very serious concerns about the manner in which the matters particularly, suits are listed before a particular Judicial Officer in the District Courts.”
It then clarified that it was not concerned with the merits of the disputes, but directed the respondents to disclose the following details, considering the nature of allegations:
- The number of suits it has filed in respect of its IPR with complete particulars of suit number, the date of its filing, the counsel through whom the same has been filed and the Judicial Officers before whom the matter was listed initially;
- Whether an application for marking and listing before a particular Judicial Officer was moved;
- The name of the Judicial Officer before whom the matter was sought to be listed;
- Whether the matter was listed before the Judicial Officer as desired by the respondents;
- Whether any ex-parte orders of injunction were passed, and;
- The date of the ex-parte ad-interim orders of injunction, if any.
Thereafter, directing that IPR suits filed by the respondents be not listed before the three judicial officers, the court ordered, “Without casting any aspersion either on the counsel or on the Judicial Officers, with a view to keep the streams of justice clear from any such allegations, we direct that the IPR suits preferred by the respondents be not listed before the aforesaid three Judicial Officers and if so listed, be assigned to some other courts by the concerned District & Sessions Judge.”
The matter has now been listed on November 11, with a direction to communicate the order to all District and Sessions judges for strict compliance.