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"Misled The Court": Bombay High Court Dismisses As Withdrawn Raymond's Contempt Plea Against Former Chairman Vijaypat Singhania

Sharmeen Hakim
11 Nov 2021 10:45 AM GMT
Misled The Court: Bombay High Court Dismisses As Withdrawn Raymonds Contempt Plea Against Former Chairman Vijaypat Singhania
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Following the Bombay High Court's stinging observations, Raymond Ltd withdrew its contempt petition against release of "An Incomplete Life," the autobiography of its former chairman emeritus Dr Vijaypat Singhania. Raymond had approached the Bombay High Court under Article 226, 227 of the Constitution against Singhania, and others alleging that the book was "surreptitiously" released...

Following the Bombay High Court's stinging observations, Raymond Ltd withdrew its contempt petition against release of "An Incomplete Life," the autobiography of its former chairman emeritus Dr Vijaypat Singhania.

Raymond had approached the Bombay High Court under Article 226, 227 of the Constitution against Singhania, and others alleging that the book was "surreptitiously" released on November 1, despite an injunction from the Thane court.

The High Court granted injunction on November 4. But the order was subsequently set aside by a division bench yesterday, with liberty to approach the single judge again.

On Thursday, Justice Madhav Jamdar orally remarked that Raymond appears to have misled the previous judge about the injunction against the erstwhile publishers of the book still being in operation.

"The solicitor has committed a blunder, a misrepresentation has been made," the court observed.

The court also took exception to Raymond's claims about being constrained to approach the High Court regarding contempt as the Thane court was closed. Justice Jamdar mentioned that inquiries revealed that urgent matters were being taken up even during the Diwali vacation.

After hearing Advocate Siddhesh Bhole assisted by Yakshay Chheda on behalf of Pan Macmillan Publishing India and Senior Advocate Atul Rajadhyaksha for Raymond, the High Court asked the company if it would be withdrawing the petition.

Advocate Rajadhyaksha sought liberty to approach the Thane Court which was granted.

Vijaypat Singhania and his son Gautam, who is the current chairman of Raymond Group, is embroiled in a bitter battle years after the octogenarian transferred Rs 1000 crore worth of shares to the latter in the holding company in February 2015.

In September 2018, Raymond filed a suit before Senior Division City Civil Judge, Thane court against Singhania and then publisher Penguin Random House. The suit sought a permanent injunction against Singhania from publishing his autobiography.

According to the plea, the autobiography infringes upon the company's right to privacy, defames the group, and discusses its business operations and other confidential information, further disparaging the tagline 'A complete man.'

The Thane court rejected Raymond's interim application against the book following which the company approached the Thane district court.

Pan Macmillan Publishing India told the Bombay High Court that Raymond had misrepresented that there there was an injunction against release of the book till Raymond's appeal before the Thane court was decided.

Macmillan told the court that firstly the injunction was not against them as they were not party to the Thane court's proceedings. Secondly, once the parties had entered their appearance, the district court's injunction order dated April 22, 2019, ceased to exist.

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