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No Part Of A Statute Or Word Of A Statute Can Be Interpreted In Isolation: Supreme Court

Smriti Kurup

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“The essence of law lies in the spirit, not its letter, for the letter is significant only as being the external manifestation of the intention that underlies it”

-Salmond

RENAISSANCE HOTEL HOLDINGS INC. V. B. VIJAYA SAI AND OTHERS

BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

The appellant-plaintiff in this case is Renaissance Hotel Holdings Inc, a world-class luxury hotel chain incorporated in the United States that has been conducting its hospitality business under the trademark name ‘Renaissance’ around the world since 1981. In India, the appellant- plaintiff also operates hotel and convention centre in Mumbai and Goa. The appellant-plaintiff is the holder and proprietor of the trademark and service mark ‘Renaissance’ in India in relation to hotel, restaurant, catering, bar, cocktail lounge, fitness club, spa services in class 42 and hotel products in class 16 such as bath robes, slippers, shirts, hats, matchboxes, writing paper, and so on with the words ‘RENAISSANCE’ imprinted on its products. They also own the domain name www.renaissancehotels.com and spend approximately US$ 14 million per year on global advertising and marketing. The appellant¬-plaintiff came across a website at www.sairenaissance.com through which it discovered that the respondent-defendants were operating one hotel in Bangalore and another one in Puttaparthi under the impugned name “SAI RENAISSANCE”, which wholly incorporates the appellant-plaintiff’s world-famous trademark and service mark “RENAISSANCE”.

The appellant-plaintiff had filed a suit in the trial court, claiming damages of Rs 3,50,000/-and restraining the respondent-defendants from using the name ‘SAI RENAISSANCE’ or any other trademark identical with the plaintiff’s trademark ‘RENAISSANCE,’ as well as from opening, operating, managing, franchising, licencing, dealing directly or indirectly in hospitality services of any kind, and printing the impugned marks on any products. The trial court partially decreed the suit by restraining the respondent-defendants from using the trademark “SAI RENAISSANCE” or any other trademark that incorporates or is deceptively similar to the appellant-plaintiff’s trademark “RENAISSANCE” in relation to goods in class 16 and services in class 42 and from opening, operating, managing, franchising, licencing, or dealing directly or indirectly in hotels, restaurants, or hospitality services of any kind under the trademark or service mark “RENAISSANCE” or any deceptively similar mark, including the internet domain name www.sairenaissance.com However, the trial court rejected the claim for damages. The High Court, allowing defendant’s appeal, observed that there was no infringement of trademark, and set aside the Trial Court judgment. This made the appellant plaintiff approach the Supreme Court.

ISSUE

Whether the use of the mark ‘SAI RENAISSANCE’ by the respondent-defendants will amount to trademark infringement?

APPELLANT-PLANTIFF’S CONTENTIONS

Shri K.V. Viswanathan, learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant-plaintiff, contended that the test set out in Sections 29(1), 29(2), and 29(3) of the Trademarks Act, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) would apply in this case. Furthermore, he contended that the High Court erred in referring only to clause (c) of Section 29(4) of the Act, which would be applicable only if all three conditions were met. He also stated that because the defendants were using the trademark RENAISSANCE as part of their business name, it falls squarely under section 29(5) of the act and thus is liable for infringement. Shri Viswanathan argued that in an action for infringement, where the similarity between the plaintiff’s and defendant’s marks is close either visually, phonetically, or otherwise, and once the Court determines that there is an imitation, no further evidence is required to establish that the plaintiff’s rights have been violated. He cited Ruston & Hornsby v Zamindara Engineering Co, Kaviraj Sharma v. Navratna Laboratories, Laxmikanth Patel v. ChetanShah to support his contentions.

RESPONDENT-DEFENDANTS CONTENTIONS

Respondent-defendants’ learned counsel Shri Sitarama Rao submitted that the suit could not be maintained since the appellant-plaintiff was not a legal person and the term ‘RENAISSANCE’ is generic English word, and thus no monopoly could be ascribed to its use. He claimed that the respondent’s parents named him “Vijaya Sai” because they believed he was born as a result of their prayers to Sri Sai Baba, and that because renaissance means rebirth, the name ‘SAI RENAISSANCE’ was adopted to signify the birth of Sri Puttaparthi Sai as a reincarnation of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba, and thus it amounts to honest and concurrent use under section 12 of the act. Shri Sitarama Rao contended that the High Court correctly determined that the respondents-defendants use was honest and that their reasoning for using the term “SAI RENAISSANCE” was justifiable. He relied on Khoday Distilleries Limited v. Scotch Whisky Association, Nandhini Deluxe v. Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited, CornProducts Refining Co. v. Shangrila Food Products Limited and Neon Laboratories Limited v. Medical Technologies Limited to support his contentions.

HELD

The Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna meticulously referred to the legislative scheme of the trademark law in India before passing the verdict. After carefully interpreting Section 29 of the act, the Hon’ble Court stated that the legislative intent is clear when the defendant’s trademark is identical with the registered trademark of the plaintiff and the defendant’s goods or services are identical with the goods or services covered by the registered trademark, the Court shall presume that it is likely to cause public confusion. The Court further held that if the defendant has adopted the essential features of the plaintiff’s trade mark, the fact that the get-up, packing, and other writing or marks on the goods or on the packets in which he offers his goods for sale show marked differences, or clearly indicate a trade origin different from that of the registered proprietor of the mark, would be immaterial in a case of trade mark infringement, whereas in the case of a passing off the defendant may escape liability if he can show that the added matter is sufficient to distinguish his goods from those of the plaintiff. Moreover, the Hon’ble Court stated that in an infringement action, an injunction would be issued as soon as it is proven that the defendant is improperly using the plaintiff’s mark, and no case of actual deception or actual damage need to be proved in such cases. Coming to the present case the Hon’ble Court stated that since both the Trial Court and the High Court has come to the conclusion that the trademark on the respondent-defendants is identical to that of the appellant-plaintiffs with respect to the same class of goods and services the Trial Court had rightly held that the goods of the appellant-plaintiff would be covered under Section 29(2)(c) read with Section 29 (3) of the said act. The Hon’ble Court further added that the High Court erred in entering into the discussion of the trans-border reputation of the impugned mark as well as in assessing only clause (c) of sub­section (4) of Section 29 of the said Act. It should be noted that, whereas the legislature used the word ‘or’ after clauses (a) and (b) in sub­section (2) of Section 29 of the said Act, it used the word ‘and’ after clauses (a) and (b) in sub­section (4) of Section 29 of the said Act. As can be seen, the legislative intent is very clear. In the case of sub­section (2) of Section 29 of the said Act, any of the conditions specified in clauses (a), (b), or (c) is sufficient. Even while interpreting Section 30 the High Court erred to take the value of the word ‘and’ between clause (a) and (b) into consideration. The Supreme Court observed that while interpreting the provisions of a statute, the textual interpretation should be matched with the contextual one and the High Court has failed to do the same. Further explaining the significance of interpretation of statuets the Hon’ble court stated that the Act must be examined as a whole, and it must be determined what each section, clause, phrase, and word is meant and designed to say in order to fit into the overall scheme of the Act. No part of a statute or word of a statute can be interpreted in isolation. The apex court also referred to Kalawatibai v. Soiryabai, Balasinor Nagrik Cooperative Bank Ltd. v. Babubhai Shankerlal Pandya, Ruston v Hornsy etc while passing the judgement. Therefore, the judgement passed by the High Court is set aside and the decree passed by the trial court is maintained.

The court’s decision makes a strong point about the importance of interpreting words properly, as this can, at times, change the entire meaning of the relevant statutory provision. In interpreting the law, the judicial system should suppress evil and wrong so as to advance the true meaning and scope of the statute. Lawmakers cannot anticipate the myriad potential future situations that might arise, nor can they create a law that will cover all such eventualities. As a result of this inevitable conflict, it is the responsibility of the Judges to utilize the effective methods of Interpretation to ensure that justice prevails.

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AN ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATE BODIES CAN ESTABLISH A CAPTIVE POWER PLANT PRIMARILY FOR THEIR OWN USE UNDER THE ELECTRICITY ACT: SUPREME COURT

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The Supreme Court in the case Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd. vs Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission observed that a captive power plant primarily for their own use can be established by an association of corporate bodies.

The requirement would be that the consumption of SBIPL and SBMPL together should not be less than 51% of the power generated. Admittedly, the joint consumption by SBIPL and SBMPL is more than 51% and under the provisions of the said Act, the use of electricity by it would be for captive use only even an association of corporate bodies can establish a power plant. Since SBMPL holds 27.6% of the ownership, the requirement of not less than 26% of shares is fulfilled by SBMPL as SBMPL holds 27.6% equity shares in SBPIL.

The fourth proviso to sub­section (2) of Section 42 of the said Act would also reveal that surcharge would not be leviable in case open access is provided to a person who has established a captive generating plant for carrying the electricity to the destination of his own use and under Section 9 of the said Act, could be an individual or a body corporate or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, it is clear that the person will get benefit even an association of corporate bodies can establish a captive power plant it has been seen. The definition of “person” is wide enough to include any company or body corporate or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, or artificial juridical person it should be primarily for the use of the members of such co­operative society or association is the requirement, the Bench observed while referring to the provisions of the Electricity Act.

The BPIL, the respondent contended and supported the impugned judgment that no permission is required from the Commission for supply of electricity for its own use. Thereafter the appellant Company contended that unless SBPIL consumes 51% of the aggregate electricity generated by it, it will not be entitled to get the benefit under Section 9 of the said Act, in an appeal filled before the Apex Court.

An appeal was dismissed by the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity filed by the Company further The Commission held that SBPIL was entitled to supply electricity to its sister concern SBMPL and the same would qualify to be treating as own consumption and within the ambit of Section 9 read with Section 2(8) of the Electricity Act, 2003 and Rule 3 of the Electricity Rules, 2005 SBPIL submitted a petition for providing open access and wheeling of power through the transmission system of the Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd (Company) for captive use by SBMPL to the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission, the commission. A Captive Generation Plant is established by SBPIL, and is a sister concern of SBPIL Shri Bajrang Power and I spat Ltd and Shri Bajrang Metallics and Power Ltd, SBMPL.

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Where the crime was committed the remission or premature release policy of the state has to be considered: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court in the case Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah, Lala Vakil vs State of Gujarat observed that where the crime was committed has to be considered in the remission or pre­mature release in terms of the policy which is applicable in the State.

While allowing the writ petition the court observed and contended that Once the crime was committed in the State of Gujarat, after the trial been concluded and judgment of conviction came to be passed, all further proceedings have to be 6 considered including remission or pre­mature release in terms of the policy which is applicable in the State of Gujarat where the crime was committed and not the State where the trial stands transferred and concluded for exceptional reasons under the orders of this Court, as the case may be. The court further stated that under Section 432(7) CrPC the appropriate Government can be either the Central or the State Government but there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments.

the appropriate Government in the ordinary course would be the State of Gujarat. But the case was transferred in exceptional circumstances by this Court for limited purpose for trial and disposal to the neighboring State i.e., the State of Maharashtra by an order dated 06.08.2004. ordinarily, the trial was to be concluded in the same State and in terms of Section 432(7) CrPC as the crime in the instant case was admittedly committed in the State of Gujarat, observed by the Apex Court.

he application for pre­mature release has to be filed in the State of Maharashtra and not in the State of Gujarat, as prayed by the petitioner by judgment impugned dated 17.07.2009 As His petition filed in the High Court of Gujarat was dismissed taking note of Section 432(7) CrPC on the premise that since the trial has been concluded in the State of Maharashtra. Thereafter He had filed his petition for pre­mature release under Sections 433 and 433A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 stating that he had undergone more than 15 years 4 months of custody.

The bench comprising of Justice Ajay Rastogi and the justice Vikram Nath observed and noted that under Section 432(7) CrPC can be either the Central or the State Government but there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments of the appropriate Government.

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Adopt roster based reservation for preferential candidates as followed by JIPMER: Supreme Court directs all AIIMS institutes

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The Supreme Court in the case Students Association AIIMS Bhopal And Or’s. v. AllMS and Or’s observed and directed all AIIMS Institutes to adopt roster-based reservation followed by Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry (JIPMER) as a plea was filled in the Court seeking direction to AIIMS to have a defined criteria for arriving at seat matrix for institutional preference candidates in INI-CET examination.

the order of the Apex Court in the case AIIMS Students’ Union v. AIIMS And Or’s, would not be applicable if It emphasized that if the roster-based system is implemented the actual roster points for AIIMS would be different from JIPMER as the same would depend on the percentage of seats decided to be allocated to the preferential candidates but It stated that the reservation would be similar to the one adopted by JIPMER AIIMS New Delhi was willing to provide a roster-point based reservation for its institutional preference candidates, by way of an affidavit 20th January 2022 the Bench was apprised that pursuant to a meeting held on 28th June 2020 as prescribed the relevancy:

It shall not be too wide with the one for the general category candidate, that the margin of difference between the qualifying marks for the Institute’s candidate.

The one who has secured marks at the common entrance PG test less than the one secured by any other candidate belonging to reserved category enjoying constitutional protection such as SC, ST etc. cannot be the AIMS graduate the last student to qualify for admission.

appearing on behalf of AIIMS, Advocate, Mr. Dushyant Parashar, New Delhi was asked to get instructions from AIIMS, Bhubaneswar and Jodhpur so that the Court can pass appropriate orders on the next date of hearing. As that apart from AIIMS, Bhubaneswar and AIIMS, Jodhpur, all other AIIMS before the Apex Court has agreed to implement the roster-based reservation system followed by JIPMER Puducherry for their institutional preference candidates, the Court was informed at the last date of hearing.

the petition had been filed seeking direction to AIIMS to disclose how the seats for institutional preference candidates are to be allotted in the view of the same the petitioners claim that in the INI-CET examination conducted in July, 2021, only 4 seats (1.87%) in AIIMS, New Delhi were allotted to institutional preference candidates. Rivetingly, the petitioners note that no seats were allocated to any other AIIMS for admission of institutional preference candidates.

the Bench comprising of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and the justice A.S. Bopanna observed and noted that to record in the order that the roaster system would be applicable from this year. Mr. Parashar informed it that since new software is to be put in place for counselling, it might cause some delay. The bench further stated that the court will order it to apply this year but in case of delay AIMS can come later.

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‘The crime committed has to be considered in the remission or premature policy of the state’

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The Supreme Court in the case Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah, Lala Vakil vs State of Gujarat observed that where the crime was committed has to be considered in the remission which is applicable in the State and the pre­mature release in terms of the policy

The Court noted while hearing the writ petition that in terms of the policy which is applicable in the State of Gujarat where the crime was committed and not the State where the trial stands transferred and concluded for exceptional reasons under the orders of this Court once the crime was committed in the State of Gujarat, after the trial been concluded and judgment of conviction came to be passed, all further proceedings have to be 6 considered including remission or pre­mature release, as the case may be, in the instance case. under Section 432(7) CrPC, there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments, can be either the Central or the State Government of the appropriate government.

in terms of Section 432(7) CrPC, the trial was to be concluded in the same State and ordinarily in the State of Gujrat the crime in the instant case was admittedly committed. by an order 06.08.2004., the case was transferred in exceptional circumstances by this Court for limited purpose for trial and disposal to the neighbouring State i.e., the State of Maharashtra, observed by the bench of Apex Court.

As mentioned by the petitioner in the plea that by judgment impugned dated 17.07.2019., the application for pre­mature release has to be filed in the State of Maharashtra and not in the State of Gujarat and His petition filed in the High Court of Gujarat was dismissed taking note of Section 432(7) CrPC on the premise that since the trial has been concluded in the State of Maharashtra. under Sections 433 and 433A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the petition was filled by the petitioner for premature release further the petitioner stated that that he had undergone under the custody of more than 15 years 4 months.

Section 302, 376(2) (e) (g) and reading it with Section 149 IPC, Shah was found guilty for the offence, the offence committed by him in the State of Gujrat.

The bench comprising of Justice Ajay Rastogi and the justice Vikram Nath observed that under Section 432(7) CrPC can be either the Central or the State Government but there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments of that appropriate government.

The bench comprising of Justice Ajay Rastogi and the justice Vikram Nath observed that under Section 432(7) CrPC can be either the Central or the State Government but there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments of that appropriate government.

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Seeking reduction of qualifying the percentile for admission in ayurveda course: A plea in Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court in the Case Amit Kumar v UOI & Or’s observed in Ayurveda course in view of large number of vacancies and for seeking reduction of qualifying percentile for admission, an ayurveda aspirant who appeared in NEET 2021 has approached the Court.

the court had observed that lowering the minimum marks and reducing the percentile for admission to first year BDS Course would not amount to lowing the standards of Education and further the Court directed to lower the percentile mark by 10 percentiles for admission in first year of BDS Course for academic year 2020-2021, with regards to substantive the contentions made by the petitioner by referring the judgement passed in the case in Harshit Agarwal & Or’s v Union of India.

the percentile may also be reduced for Ayurveda programme enabling the Petitioner to take admissions then If percentile is being reduced/considered for reduction for BDS course was further stated by the petitioner in the plea, while referring to an order dated 04.29.2022. Thereafter the top Court had asked Centre to consider lowering the percentile for BDS Courses.

Seeking the Centre’s response in a plea by filing a counter affidavit, noted by the Top Court specifying the above-mentioned information:

after deducting the admission granted for MBBS Courses (BDS Courses), the total number of Candidates.

in All India Quota and State Quota, the totals number of vacant seats.

in government colleges on one hand & private/deemed colleges on the other hand, the number of seats which are remaining.

the petition was filed through AOR Neeraj Shekhar and for the petitioner Advocate Shivam Singh appeared.

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Bank case rejected by Supreme Court against farmer

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The Supreme Court in the case Bank of Maharashtra & Or’s v Mohanlal Patidar observed an order given by the High Courts of directing the bank the OTS proposal given by a farmer who had availed a loan from the bank, the court further pulled up the Bank of Maharashtra for challenging the order.

The Bank shall complete remaining formalities and provide all consequential benefits flowing therefrom to the petitioners, the court further stated that it is needless to emphasize The OTS proposal given by the petitioners in both the cases shall be accepted by the Bank and ‘sanction letters’ be issued forthwith, the court allowed the petitioner plea.

The petitioner not only promptly challenged the said order, it is noteworthy that petitioner never acceded to the unilateral decision dated 25th August 2021 and even otherwise the letter dated 25th August 2021 is held to be illegal by us, clause-7 of policy cannot take away the fruits of OTS benefits, within two months from the date of issuance of order dated 22th September 2021, the petitioner filled the instant petition and further the court directed we are unable to give stamp of approval to the impugned orders and action of the Bank, observed by the bench comprising of Justice Sujoy Paul and the justice Dwarka Dhish Bansal while setting aside the impugned orders of the bank.

In an order dated 03.09.2021 it was stated and it showed that the petitioner was required to pay minimum 10% of the OTS amount within stipulated time and that he had deposited Rs.35,00,000/- out of Rs.36,50,000/- within the stipulated time, it was argued before the court by the counsel.

As full and final settlement of the dues, he will be required to deposit Rs.50.50 lakhs as he was informed by the Asset Recovery Branch of the Bank.

Whole law comes into place when a matter of farmers come as the down payment were also accepted and it was further stated by the bench in an oral remark You don’t file cases against the ones who loot 1000s of crores.

The respondent had obtained a loan and intended to pay it in terms of a One Time Settlement which was quantified as Rs 3650000/-. in furtherance thereof the respondent had deposited Rs 35,00,000 with the bank, in the above-mentioned matter.

The bank had miserably failed to accept the same and on the contrary, decided to enhance the compromise amount to Rs.50.50 lakhs unilaterally which was contrary to the OTS scheme, contended by the counsel further the counsel stated that the bank had miserably failed to accept the same and on the contrary, decided to enhance the compromise amount to Rs.50.50 lakhs unilaterally which was contrary to the OTS scheme.

The bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and the justice Surya Kant observed and remarked while dismissing the plea assailing Madhya Pradesh High Court’s order dated 02.21.2022 Such a litigation in Supreme Court will spoil the families of farmers financially, Go after bigger fish.

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