Interpretation of Statutes is key to the operation of law.
While the rules existent to this may be several, occasions do
arise whereby the Courts take cognizance of the same, primarily
where the scope of contrast and conflicting interpretations
exist. The case of Wipro Ltd. & Anr. V. Oushadha
Chandrika Ayurvedic India(P) Ltd. & Ors. [2008 (37)
PTC 269] takes cognizance of one such occasion.
The question that came forth the Court centered around the
jurisdiction of the Madras High Court to entertain suits filed
under S. 134 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (Suit for
infringement, etc. to be filed before the District Court) and
S. 62(2) (Jurisdiction of Court over matters arising under this
(Civil Remedies) Chapter) of the Copyright Act, 1957. The
Single Judge had rejected the decision on the ground that no
part of the cause of action had arisen within the jurisdiction
of the Madras High Court, Oushada Chandrika were residing
outside its jurisdiction, while prior leave to sue had also not
Wipro had filed a suit for permanent injunction against
Oushada Chandrika for restraining them from infringing and
using their trademark "Chandrika". They also filed
another suit to restrain Oushada Chandrika from violating their
copyright in "Chandrika". Wipro, an FMCG company,
claimed that the use of Chandrika originated from the use of
the registered mark and the consequent assignment of the same
with regard to its use for soaps, to Wipro. They also claimed
that huge sums had been spent in promoting the brand
"Chandrika", and that the use of a similar mark and
get-up with the prefix "Oushadha" gave a wrongful
impression to the public. They also asserted that the same had
been done with a view to practice deception on the public and
to encash on Wipro's goodwill and reputation.
An ex-parte order of injunction on an interlocutory
application had already been passed, and an application for
rejection of plaint had been filed by Oushadha Chandrika.
Oushadha Chandrika also contended that the place of business
was different- that of Wipro being Bangalore, while they were
located at Kerala., and without any cause of action arising in
Chennai, the Court could not entertain the grievance against
them. They also stated that the phrase "actually and
voluntarily resides or carries on business" be interpreted
meaningfully and that the phrase did not include branch offices
in its scope.
The Counsel for Wipro submitted that the averments made in
the plaint were germane, while the contentions of Oushadha
Chandrika are irrelevant. They stated that the sections
pertinent to the case were exceptions to the general rule,
allowing suits to be filed at the District Court, within whose
limits the person instituting the suit actually and voluntarily
resides or carries on business. He stated that the section not
merely aimed at including head offices, but also branch
operations. They also stated that the sections contained a
non-obstante clause, by virtue of which the Letters Patent is
superseded by the legislation and hence fulfillment of Clause
12 was not a pre-requisite. The Counsel for Oushadha Chandrika
contraverted this stating that having a branch office in
Chennai was of no consequence to invoke the jurisdiction of the
Court. They strengthened their argument by stating that none of
the goods were sold in Chennai and hence no cause of action
The Court analyzing the provisions under contention,
concluded that a deliberate departure from S. 20 of the Civil
Procedure Code, 1908 had been made, in as much as to include
all places where business activities were conducted, be it the
principle place of business or a place where branches were
located. Considering that an objection on the question of
jurisdiction was raised by way of demurrer and not by trial,
the Court opined that the objection be proceeded considering
the facts presented by the initiator of the impugned
proceedings as true. The Court allowed the appeals and restored
the suits, while reviving the ad-interim injunction and
reverting the matter back to the Ld. Single Judge.
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