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Saturday, July 4, 2015

In the contempt petition, the respondent has, inter alia averred that the appellants have deliberately and v willfullyiolated the ex parte interim order dated 06.08.2013 passed by the Single Judge under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the Code in the aforementioned Notice of Motion and thereby rendered themselves liable for having committed contempt of Court's order dated 06.08.2013. It is, therefore, prayed that the appellants be accordingly punished under the Contempt of Court Act for commission of violation of order dated 06.08.2013. The respondent in the aforementioned pending civil suit filed notice of motion being Notice of Motion (L) No. 1553 of 2013 (renumbered as 488 of 2014) against the appellants herein under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (in short “the Code”) and sought ad- interim relief in terms of prayers (a), (b) and (d) as extracted above during the pendency of the Suit. 7) By interim order dated 06.08.2013, the Single Judge granted ex parte ad-interim relief in terms of prayer (a) to the respondent. = In the meantime, the respondent, felt aggrieved by certain communication alleged to have been made by or/and on behalf of the appellants, which according to the respondent were made by the appellant in violation of the ex parte interim order dated 06.08.2013, filed contempt petition under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 against the appellants being Contempt Petition No. 105/2013 (renumbered as 29/2014) in the High Court.= During the pendency of this contempt petition, the respondent herein filed one additional affidavit on 31.10.2014 in the contempt petition complaining therein that the appellants have again committed fresh contempt by willfully violating/disobeying the ex parte interim order dated 06.08.2013 and hence another notice of contempt be issued against the appellants to show cause as to why they be not punished for having committed fresh contempt of order dated 06.08.2013. = In our considered view, when admittedly the order dated 06.08.2013 was an ex parte one then in such circumstances, no sooner the defendants (appellants) entered appearance in the civil suit and filed their pleadings in reply to the Notice of Motion, the Court which is seized of the main case should have made sincere endeavour to dispose of the Notice of Motion on merits in the light of the mandate contained in Order XXXIX Rule 3A of the Code which in clear terms provides that the Court shall make an endeavor to finally dispose of the application within 30 days from the date on which the ex parte injunction was granted. 19) It was not done by the Court may be due to myriad reasons despite the appellants (defendants) entering appearance as back as 21.08.2013 in the main suit and completing their pleadings on 05.09.2013. As a result, the ex parte ad-interim order dated 06.08.2013 remains in operation. 20) In our view, once the Notice of Motion is finally decided on merits in accordance with law one way or the other then the parties to the Lis can always work out their rights by taking recourse to legal remedies available to them for pursuing their grievance to higher fora either in appeal or revision, as the case may be, and may also prosecute the contempt proceedings arising out of the main case, if need arises.

                                                                  Reportable
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELALTE JURISDICTION

                      CIVIL APPEAL Nos. 4914-15 OF 2015
                  (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) Nos.603-604/2015)

      Quantum Securities Pvt. Ltd.
& Others                                          Appellant(s)


                            VERSUS


New Delhi Television Ltd.                    Respondent(s)


                               J U D G M E N T

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1)    Leave granted
2)    These appeals are filed against the  Interim  Order  dated  26.02.2014
passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay in  Contempt  Petition  (L)
No. 105 of 2013 in Notice of Motion (L) No. 1553 of 2013  in  Suit  (L)  No.
677 of 2013 and Interim Order dated 31.10.2014 in Contempt Petition  No.  29
of 2014 in Notice of Motion No. 488 of 2014 in Suit No. 284 of 2014.

3)    The facts of the case, which lie in a narrow  compass,  however,  need
mention in brief to appreciate the issue involved in these appeals.
4)    The appellants are  the  defendants  whereas  the  respondent  is  the
plaintiff.
5)    The respondent (plaintiff) has filed one suit  being  Civil  Suit  (L)
No. 677 of  2013  (renumbered  as  Civil  Suit  No.  284/2014)  against  the
appellants (defendants) in the High Court of Bombay  on  its  original  side
for claiming the following reliefs:
“a. that the Defendants and each  of  them  (by  themselves  and  by/through
their  servants,  employees,   affiliates,   associates   and   agents)   be
permanently restrained/injuncted by an order of this Hon’ble Court, from  in
any manner writing to third parties, letters that are defamatory  in  nature
against the Plaintiff, its management and/or its promoters;

b. that the Defendants be directed to issue  an                unconditional
public corrigendum, withdrawing the letters and e-mails  written  by  it  to
third  parties.  Independent  Directors  and  Regulatory  Authorities,   and
apologizing for the defamatory actions on its part;

c. that the Defendants jointly and  severally  be  decreed  to  pay  to  the
Plaintiff damages of Rs. 25 Crores, as set out at Exhibit A herein, or  such
other amount as this Hon’ble Court seems just and appropriate;

d. that pending the hearing and final disposal of the Suit,  the  Defendants
and each of them (by themselves and by/through  their  servants,  employees,
affiliates, associates and agents) be restrained, by  order  and  injunction
of this Hon’ble Court, from in any manner  further  issuing  any  defamatory
letters, notices, emails, etc., in  connection  with  and/or  pertaining  to
and/or relating to the Plaintiff, its senior officials and promoters;

e. interim, ad-interim and ex-parte ad-interim reliefs in  terms  of  prayer
(a) (b) and (d) above,

for costs;

g.  for  such  further  and  other  reliefs  as  this  Hon’ble  Court  deems
appropriate in the nature and circumstances of the case.”

6)    The respondent in the aforementioned pending civil suit  filed  notice
of motion being Notice of Motion (L) No. 1553 of 2013  (renumbered  as   488
of 2014) against the appellants herein under Order XXXIX Rules 1  and  2  of
the Code of Civil Procedure 1908  (in  short  “the  Code”)  and  sought  ad-
interim relief in terms of prayers (a),  (b)  and  (d)  as  extracted  above
during the pendency of the Suit.
7)    By interim order dated 06.08.2013, the Single Judge granted  ex  parte
ad-interim relief in terms of prayer (a) to the respondent.  The  appellants
herein on receiving the summons filed their detailed reply to the Notice  of
Motion on 21.08.2013 denying inter alia all the  material  allegations  made
by the respondent.  The  respondent,  in  turn,  filed  their  rejoinder  on
06.09.2013 to the reply filed by the appellants to the notice of motion.
8)    In this way, the pleadings in Notice of Motion No. 488/2013 taken  out
by the respondent against the appellants are complete. However,  we  are  at
pains to find out  that till date, the hearing in the Notice of  Motion  has
not been concluded and since the last two years it is pending for its  final
disposal on merits.
9)     In  the  meantime,  the  respondent,  felt   aggrieved   by   certain
communication alleged  to  have  been  made  by  or/and  on  behalf  of  the
appellants, which according to the respondent were made by the appellant  in
violation of the ex parte interim order dated 06.08.2013,    filed  contempt
petition under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act,  1971  against  the
appellants being Contempt Petition No. 105/2013 (renumbered as  29/2014)  in
the High Court.
10)   In the contempt petition, the respondent has, inter alia averred  that
the appellants  have  deliberately  and  willfully  violated  the  ex  parte
interim order dated 06.08.2013 passed by the Single Judge under Order  XXXIX
Rules 1 and 2 of the  Code  in  the  aforementioned  Notice  of  Motion  and
thereby rendered themselves liable for having committed contempt of  Court's
order dated  06.08.2013. It is, therefore, prayed  that  the  appellants  be
accordingly punished under the Contempt  of  Court  Act  for  commission  of
violation of order dated 06.08.2013.
11)   The Single Judge, on hearing the respondent, entertained the  contempt
petition and by  order  dated  26.02.2014,  observed  that  on  reading  the
averments made in the contempt petition, a prima facie case for issuance  of
contempt notice is made out against the appellants and hence rule be  issued
against them in the contempt notice making it returnable on 26.03.2014.   It
was also observed that these proceedings would not come in the  way  of  the
appellants to prosecute any pending proceedings. The appellants  have  filed
their reply affidavit to the contempt petition on 24.03.2014.  The  contempt
petition is pending.
12)   During the pendency of this contempt petition, the  respondent  herein
filed one additional  affidavit  on  31.10.2014  in  the  contempt  petition
complaining therein that the appellants have again committed fresh  contempt
by  willfully  violating/disobeying  the  ex  parte  interim   order   dated
06.08.2013 and hence another  notice  of  contempt  be  issued  against  the
appellants to show  cause  as  to  why  they  be  not  punished  for  having
committed fresh contempt of order dated 06.08.2013.


13)   The Single Judge, on perusal of the additional affidavit filed by  the
respondent  herein  on  31.10.2014,  directed  issuance  of  notice  to  the
appellants to show cause as to  why  action  under  the  provisions  of  the
Contempt  of  Court  Act  be  not  initiated  against  them  for  committing
violation of orders dated  06.08.2013 and 26.02.2014. The notices were  made
returnable on 08.12.2014. The Single Judge also issued an order  restraining
the  appellants  from  issuing  any  defamatory  letter,   notice,   e-mail,
advertisement  and  publication  of  any  nature  in  connection  with   the
respondent herein. This matter is also pending.
14)   Felt aggrieved by these  two  interim  orders,  i.e.,  26.02.2014  and
31.10.2014, the appellants have filed these appeals by way of special  leave
before this Court.
15)   We  have  heard  Mr.  P.V.  Kapur,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
appellants  and  Mr.  C.A.  Sundaram,   learned  senior  counsel   for   the
respondent at considerable length. Both  the  learned  senior  counsel  very
ably argued the myriad legal issues arising in the case  some  seemingly  of
public importance  in  support  of  their  respective  submissions.  Learned
senior  counsel  for  the  appellants  also  in   his   submission   doubted
correctness of the decision of this Court in Welset  Engineers  &  Anr.  Vs.
Vikas Auto Industries & Ors., 2006 (32) PTC 190(SC), which was relied on  by
the learned  senior  counsel  for  the  respondent  against  the  appellants
contending for dismissal of these appeals. According to learned counsel  for
the appellants, the said decision is per incuriam and thus  requires  to  be
reconsidered on the issue decided therein.
16)   Having heard the learned counsel for the parties  and  on  perusal  of
the record of the case, we consider it appropriate and in  the  interest  of
both the parties to defer  our  recording  of  findings  on  several  issues
arising in the case and more so legal  issues  on  which  lengthy  arguments
were addressed and request the learned Single Judge of the High  Court,  who
is seized of Civil Suit No. 677/2013 renumbered as 284/2014  and  of  Notice
of Motion No.1553/2013 renumbered as 488/2014, to first take  up  Notice  of
Motion No.  1553/2013  renumbered  as   488/2014  filed  by  the  respondent
(plaintiff) under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the Code and dispose  of  the
same, after  affording  an  opportunity  to  both  the  parties,  on  merits
strictly in accordance with law. Since  pleadings  in  the  said  Notice  of
Motion are complete long back, there does not appear any kind  of  prejudice
being caused to any of  the  parties,  if  direction  is  issued  for  early
disposal of the notice of motion on its merits.
17)   In our considered opinion, there is no justification on  the  part  of
parties (without blaming any one) to keep the main Notice of Motion  pending
and prosecute its off-shoot proceedings in preference to the main case  such
as the one out of which these appeals arise.
18)   In our considered view, when admittedly  the  order  dated  06.08.2013
was an ex parte one then in such circumstances,  no  sooner  the  defendants
(appellants) entered appearance in the civil suit and filed their  pleadings
in reply to the Notice of Motion, the Court which  is  seized  of  the  main
case should have made sincere endeavour to  dispose of the Notice of  Motion
on merits in the light of the mandate contained in Order XXXIX  Rule  3A  of
the Code which in  clear  terms  provides  that  the  Court  shall  make  an
endeavor to finally dispose of the application within 30 days from the  date
on which the ex parte injunction was granted.
19)   It was not done by the Court may be due to myriad reasons despite  the
appellants (defendants) entering appearance as back  as  21.08.2013  in  the
main suit and completing their pleadings on 05.09.2013. As a result, the  ex
parte ad-interim order dated 06.08.2013 remains in operation.
20)   In our view, once the Notice of Motion is finally  decided  on  merits
in accordance with law one way or the other then the parties to the Lis  can
always work out their rights by taking recourse to legal remedies  available
to them for pursuing their grievance to higher  fora  either  in  appeal  or
revision,  as  the  case  may  be,  and  may  also  prosecute  the  contempt
proceedings arising out of the main case, if need arises.
21)   In our considered opinion, It is always in the larger interest of  the
parties to the Lis to get the main case (Lis) decided first  on  its  merits
as far as possible rather than to  pursue  their  off-shoot  proceedings  on
merits by keeping the main case undecided. It is more so when  any  decision
rendered in  the  main  case  has  a  bearing  over  the  pending  off-shoot
proceedings.
22)   In our view, the defendant in such case has a right to  point  out  in
the Notice of Motion, that the plaintiff has neither any  prima  facie  case
in their favour nor there is any  likelihood  of  plaintiff  to  suffer  any
irreparable loss/injury in relation  to  subject  matter  of  the  suit,  if
injunction is declined to the plaintiff and that no balance  of  convenience
lies in the plaintiff’s favour and, therefore, the  Court  should  not  have
granted ex parte injunction to the plaintiff and  even  if  it  has  granted
then it should now be either recalled or modified, as the case  may  be.  It
is then for the Court to decide as to whether ex  parte  injunction  granted
to the plaintiff should be confirmed or recalled or varied etc.  and  if  so
on what grounds.
23)   We are also of the considered view that  when the issue on  merits  is
seized of by the original court in civil suit/proceedings and rights of  the
parties are still not decided on merits then  it  is  not  proper  for  this
Court to probe into the facts and record any finding on any  of  the  issues
arising out of  collateral  proceedings  such  as  the  one  here  else  our
observation may cause prejudice to the parties while prosecuting their  case
before the original court on merits.
24)   It is for these reasons we are  of  the  considered  opinion  that  it
would be apposite to request the learned Single Judge to  decide  Notice  of
Motion No. 1553/2013 renumbered as 488/2014  arising out of Civil  Suit  No.
677/2013 renumbered as 284/2014 on merits in accordance with law  preferably
within three months from the date of  receipt  of  copy  of  this  judgment.
Till it is decided, we are inclined to stay the contempt proceedings out  of
which these appeals arise.  After the disposal of the Notice of Motion,  the
contempt proceedings may be decided in accordance  with  law  including  its
maintainability etc.
25)   Needless to say, since  we  have  refrained  from  giving  finding  on
merits on any of the issues  and  hence  the  concerned  Courts,  which  are
seized of the civil suit/proceedings in question, would  decide  the  matter
on merits strictly in accordance with law without being  influenced  by  our
observations made herein.
26)   We also make it clear that all the issues which were argued  in  these
appeals including the issue as to whether the remedy of the  appellants  lie
in filing statutory appeal under Section 19 of the Contempt  of  Courts  Act
against the impugned orders etc. are kept open  for  being  decided  at  the
appropriate stage, if occasion arises.
27)   It is for these reasons, we do not consider it  necessary  to  discuss
in detail the submissions urged by both the learned senior  counsel  nor  we
consider it apposite to deal with several case laws cited at the bar.
28)    With  these  observations  and  the  directions,  the  appeals  stand
accordingly disposed of.  No costs.
29)   A copy of the order be filed before learned Single Judge in main  case
as also in contempt proceedings to enable the appropriate Benches to  decide
the cases accordingly.

      …….….……............................J.
                            [VIKRAMAJIT SEN]


               …………..................................J.
                            [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]


      New Delhi;
      July 01, 2015.

ITEM NO.1B               COURT NO.12               SECTION IX
(For judgment)
               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

      Civil Appeal Nos. 4914-15 of 2015 @ SLP (C)  No(s).  603-604/2015


QUANTUM SECURITIES PVT LTD AND ORS                 Petitioner(s)

                                VERSUS

NEW DELHI TELEVISION LTD                           Respondent(s)


Date : 01/07/2015      These appeals were called on for pronouncement
            of judgment today.


For Appellant (s)    Mr. Gagan Gupta, AOR


For Respondent(s)      M/s Suresh A. Shroff & Co., Advs.


      Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay  Manohar  Sapre  pronounced  the  reportable
judgment of the Bench comprising Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vikramajit Sen and  His
Lordship.
      Leave granted.
      The appeals stand accordingly disposed  of  in  terms  of  the  signed
reportable judgment.


      (R.NATARAJAN)                                 (SNEH LATA SHARMA)
       Court Master                                    Court Master
            (Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file)



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