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we have to refer to the order passed by us on 28th January, 2011, whereby the Respondent had been allowed to continue with the running of the business, but she was directed to maintain a separate account in respect of the transaction and to place the same before us at the time of hearing of the matter. Such account does not appear to have been filed, but since we are disposing of the matter by restoring the order of the District Judge, Khurda, in ARBP No.576 of 2007, we further direct the Respondent, as and when arbitral proceedings may be taken, to furnish such account upto this day before the learned Arbitrator so that the claims of the parties can be fully decided by the learned Arbitrator.

1

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NOS.10434-10435 OF 2011

(Arising out of SLP(C)Nos.3391-3392 of 2011)

SURESH DHANUKA … APPELLANT

Vs.

SUNITA MOHAPATRA … RESPONDENT

J U D G M E N T

ALTAMAS KABIR, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. These appeals arising out of SLP(C)Nos.3391-3392 of

2011, are directed against the judgment and order dated
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27th October, 2008, passed by the Orissa High Court in

ARBA No.17 of 2008 and the order dated 28th September,

2010, passed on the Review Application No.21 of 2008.

3. The Appellant herein, Suresh Dhanuka, filed an

application before the learned District Judge, Khurda,

being ARB (P) No.576 of 2007, under Section 9 of the

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, hereinafter

referred to as the “1996 Act”.

4. The facts leading to the filing of the said

application reveal that on 1st April, 1999, Suresh

Dhanuka, the Appellant herein, and Sunita Mahapatra,

the Respondent herein, entered into an Agreement,

whereby they agreed to jointly carry on business in the

name and style of “Abhilasha”. Sunita Mahapatra was

carrying on business in the name and style of “M/s.

Nature Probiocare Inc.”, as the sole proprietress

thereof. The said Agreement was for a period of five
3

years from 1st April, 1999 to 31st March, 2004, which was

subsequently extended till 31st March, 2009. On 4th

October, 1999, the Respondent herein applied to the

Registrar of Trade Marks, Kolkata, in Form No.TM-1

under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958, for

registration of the Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal”, under

Application No.879695.

5. During the first five-year period of the original

Agreement dated 1st April, 1999, the Respondent, Sunita

Mahapatra, executed a Deed of Assignment on 1st October,

2000, assigning 50% of her right, title and interest in

the said Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal”, with

proportional goodwill of the business concerned in the

goods in respect of which the Mark was permanently

used, interalia, on the following terms and conditions,

namely,
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(a) All goods manufactured by the Respondent

under the said Trade Mark would be

marketed solely by the Appellant herein;

(b) On the termination of the Joint Venture,

neither the assignor nor the assignee

would be entitled to use or register the

Mark in its own name or jointly with some

other party;

(c) The existing goodwill and further goodwill

would vest in the owner and the assignee.

Soon thereafter, on 28th February, 2001, M/s. S.

Majumdar & Co., the authorized Trade Mark agent of the

Respondent, filed an application in Form No.TM-16,

along with the Deed of Assignment, with the Trade Mark

authorities, together with the fee of Rs.20/- for

recording the name of the Appellant as the Joint

Proprietor of the Trade Mark. The application for
5

registration of the Trade Mark was advertised in the

Trade Mark Journal on 13th November, 2003. While the

same was pending, the Agreement dated 1st April, 1999,

was extended by mutual consent till 31st March, 2009.

It appears that during the period 2003-2007, the sale

of the product increased from Rs.19,99,808/- to

Rs.1,88,70,143/-. Meanwhile, the Agreement dated 1st

April, 1999, was extended by mutual consent till 31st

March, 2009, as indicated hereinbefore.

6. It appears that on 19th July, 2004, one Food

Ingredients Specialties S.A. filed an opposition

No.KOL-167256 to the Trade Mark application of the

Respondent wherein a joint reply was filed, which was

affirmed by both the parties. It is alleged that,

thereafter, in 2006, the Appellant and his son floated

a company by the name of “Naturoma Herbal (P) Ltd.”.

It is the case of the Appellant that the Appellant and

his son floated the company with the name of “Naturoma
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Herbal (P) Ltd.”. According to the Appellant, his son

floated the company with the consent of the Respondent,

who, subsequently, declined to participate in the

management thereof. On 31st August, 2006, the Appellant

resigned from the company despite the fact that the

company had not started manufacturing activities until

then, as was certified by the Chartered Accountant. On

21st August, 2007, the Respondent herein filed a Suit,

being CS No.26 of 2007, before the District Judge at

Khurda, under Sections 134 and 135 of the Trade Marks

Act, 1999. The learned District Judge, by an ex-parte

order dated 29th August, 2007, restrained the Appellant

and the company from selling, distributing,

manufacturing and marketing any of the products in the

name of “Naturoma” or “Naturoma Herbal”. At this

stage, on 4th September, 2007, the Respondent filed an

application under Section 9 of the 1996 Act, also

before the District Judge at Khurda.
7

7. On 12th September, 2007, the Appellant came to learn

from the market that in breach of the Agreements

entered into by the parties, the Respondent was

approaching the Dealers and Distributors of the

Appellant to take direct supplies from the Respondent

on a higher discount. This led to the filing of the

application under Section 9 of the 1996 Act by the

Appellant before the District Judge, Alipore, Kolkata.

Thereafter, on 25th September, 2007, the Respondent

cancelled the Agreement dated 1st April, 1999 and also

revoked the Deed of Assignment dated 1st October, 2000.

The Appellant’s application under Section 9 of the 1996

Act was dismissed on 26th November, 2007, on account of

the earlier application filed under Section 9 of the

above Act, by the Respondent before the District Judge

at Khurda. Thereafter, on 19th December, 2007, the

Appellant filed a fresh application under Section 9 of

the 1996 Act, before the learned District Judge,
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Khurda. On 27th December, 2007, the learned District

Judge passed an interim order restraining the

Respondent from selling the products in question by

herself or by any other person, save and except through

the Appellant. The said interim order was made

absolute on 22nd May, 2008.

8. On 1st July, 2008, a corrigendum was made by the

Trade Mark Registrar in the Trade Mark Journal, showing

the Appellant as the joint proprietor of the Trade Mark

“Naturoma Herbal”.

9. The Respondent herein preferred an appeal before

the Orissa High Court on 8th July, 2008, which was heard

on 18th September, 2008 and judgment was reserved.

While the matter was pending, the Respondent filed a

letter with the Trade Mark Authority at Mumbai on 25th

September, 2008, praying for cancellation of the order

allowing the request of the Appellant in January, 2001,
9

resulting in issuance of the Corrigendum in the Trade

Mark Journal on 16th September, 2008. As would appear

from the materials on record, the Assistant Registrar

of Trade Marks, Mumbai, cancelled the Corrigendum dated

1st July, 2008 on 26th September, 2008, without notice to

the Appellant and such cancellation was published in

the Trade Mark Journal on 29th September, 2008. On 30th

September, 2008, the Respondent filed an affidavit to

bring on record the said cancellation of the

Corrigendum and, though, the same was relied upon by

the High Court in its judgment dated 27th October, 2008,

the Appellant was not given an opportunity to deal with

the same. The High Court, by its aforesaid judgment,

allowed the appeal filed by the Respondent. The Review

Application filed by the Appellant on 28th January,

2009, against the judgment and order dated 27th October,

2008, was ultimately rejected by the High Court on 28th

September, 2010, resulting in the filing of the Special
10

Leave Petitions on 7th January, 2011, in which notice

was issued and a limited interim order was made.

10. Appearing for the Appellant, Mr. P.K. Ghosh,

learned Senior Advocate, submitted that since the

Respondent’s establishment was basically a production

unit and did not possess any experience and/or

expertise in the field of marketing, promotion,

distribution and management of its manufactured goods,

she entered into an Agreement with the Appellant to

market and distribute her products for a period of 5

years from 1st April, 1999, as indicated hereinbefore.

The same was extended for a further period of 5 years

on 1st April, 2004 by mutual consent. Mr. Ghosh

submitted that the Appellant incurred huge promotional

expenses between 1999 and 2007 assessed at about Rs.72

lakhs and it was only after such promotional schemes

that there was a substantial increase in the sale of

the product with the Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal”. Mr.
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Ghosh submitted that the sales figures from the

accounting year 2003-04 to the accounting year 2006-07

showed an increase of almost 1 crore 60 lakhs rupees.

11. Mr. Ghosh submitted that the Respondent even went

so far as to sell its goods by using the Trade Mark

“Naturoma Herbal” and deleting the name “Abhilasha”

from the packaging of the products. Mr. Ghosh

contended that suppressing all the above facts, the

opposite party filed a suit, being C.S. No.26 of 2007,

under Sections 134 and 135 of the Trade Marks Act,

1999, before the District Judge, Khurda, inter alia,

praying for an order of injunction to restrain the

Appellant from using the Mark “Naturoma Herbal” and

obtained an ex-parte order of injunction to the above

effect.

12. Having obtained an interim order in the aforesaid

suit, the Respondent terminated the Agreement dated
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1st April, 1999, and also revoked the Deed of Assignment

dated 1st October, 2000, unilaterally. The Appellant

thereupon moved the learned District Judge, Alipore, by

way of an application under Section 9 of the 1996 Act,

but the same had to be dropped on account of lack of

jurisdiction. The Appellant, thereafter, filed another

application under Section 9 of the above Act, being

ARBP No.576 of 2007, before the Court of District

Judge, Khurda, in which initially on 22nd December,

2007, an interim protection was given directing the

Respondent not to sell, market, distribute, advertise

its products under the Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal”, by

herself or through any other person save and except the

Appellant herein. The said order was subsequently

confirmed on 22nd May, 2008.

13. Mr. Ghosh submitted that the Respondent had no

authority to terminate the Agreement dated 1st April,

1999, on the ground that the same had been misused by
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the Appellant. Learned counsel submitted that even if

it be accepted that the Appellant was a Director of the

Naturoma Herbals Pvt. Ltd., between June, 2005, to

August, 2006, then there was no substance in the

applications made against the Appellant as the said

Company had not conducted any business within that

period and, in any event, its product was sold under

different designs containing the word “SAFFIRE” in bold

and prominent fonts.

14. Mr. Ghosh submitted that the Respondent did not

also have any right to revoke the Deed of Assignment

whereby 50% of the right, title and interest in the

Trade Mark “Natural Herbal” had been assigned to the

Appellant to be held by him absolutely and forever.

Mr. Ghosh urged that the Deed of Assignment did not

contain any clause for revocation of the right and

ownership of the Trade Mark to the extent of 50% and
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such revocation was made with the intention to defraud

the Appellant and to grab the market created by him.

15. Mr. Ghosh reiterated the conditions contained in

the Deed of Assignment dated 1st October, 2000, whereby

50% of the right, title and interest in the Trade Mark

“Naturoma Herbal” with proportional goodwill of the

business concerned in the said goods in respect of

which the Mark was used, stood assigned to the

Appellant absolutely and forever. Mr. Ghosh submitted

that it was not within the powers of the Respondent to

terminate the Deed of Assignment, even if the joint

venture for marketing of the goods manufactured by the

Respondent under the name of “Abhilasha”, was

discontinued. Mr. Ghosh reiterated that all goods

manufactured by the Respondent under the aforesaid

Trade Mark would have to be marketed solely by the

Appellant and on termination of the joint venture,

neither the assignor nor the assignee would be entitled
15

to use or register (emphasis added) the Mark on its own

name or jointly with some other party. Mr. Ghosh

contended that the said condition amounted to a

negative covenant which could be enforced under Section

42 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. Learned counsel

urged that while Section 41 of the aforesaid Act

indicates the circumstances in which an injunction

cannot be granted to prevent the breach of a contract,

the performance of which could not specifically be

enforced, Section 42, on the other hand, specifically

provides that notwithstanding anything contained in

Clause (e) of Section 41, where a contract comprises an

affirmative agreement to do a certain act, coupled with

a negative agreement, express or implied, not to do a

certain act, the Court while not being in a position to

compel specific performance of the affirmative

agreement, would not be precluded from granting an

injunction to perform the negative covenant, if the
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plaintiff had not failed to perform the contract so far

as it was binding on him. Mr. Ghosh urged that in the

instant case, the conditions in the Deed of Assignment

made it very clear that except for the Appellant, no

other person would be entitled to market, sell,

distribute and advertise the goods manufactured by the

manufacturer under the Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal”.

It was further stipulated that if the joint venture

agreement was to be terminated at any point of time,

neither the assignor nor the assignee would be entitled

to use or register the Mark in its own name or in the

name of some other party.

16. It was submitted by Mr. Ghosh that the corrigendum

which had been published by the Registrar of Trade

Marks in the Trade Mark Journal on 1st July, 2008,

showing the Appellant as the joint proprietor of the

Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal” was cancelled on 25th

September, 2008, on the basis of a letter written by
17

the Respondent to the Trade Mark Authority at Mumbai,

seeking cancellation of the order, without any

opportunity being given to the Appellant who had been

shown as the joint proprietor of the Trade Mark in

question. Mr. Ghosh submitted that what is more

interesting is the fact that such letter seeking

cancellation of the order by which the name of the

Appellant was shown as the Joint Proprietor of the

Trade Mark was written at a time when the Respondent’s

appeal against the order of the Registrar of the Trade

Marks was pending before the Orissa High Court. In

fact, after the hearing of the appeal was concluded and

judgment was reserved, the Respondent filed an

affidavit before the High Court to bring on record the

cancellation of the corrigendum published on 1st July,

2008 and, although, the same was relied upon by the

High Court, no opportunity was given to the Appellant

to deal with the said document or to make any
18

submissions in respect thereof. Mr. Ghosh submitted

that the appeal was ultimately allowed by the High

Court on the basis of documents submitted on behalf of

the Respondent after the judgment had been reserved in

the appeal.

17. Mr. Ghosh also submitted that the review

application filed by the Appellant on the ground that

the affidavit filed by the Respondent was taken on

record without any opportunity to the Appellant to meet

the same, was also rejected on 20th September, 2010, on

the basis of an order of the Registrar of Trade Marks

which was not on record at the time when the hearing of

the appeal was concluded and judgment was reserved.

Mr. Ghosh submitted that the manner in which the entire

proceedings had been conducted clearly indicates that

the High Court had not applied its judicial mind in

allowing the appeal filed by the Respondent against the

orders passed on the Appellant’s application under
19

Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,

1996, before the District Judge at Khurda.

18. Mr. Ghosh lastly contended that on the application

made by the Respondent to the Registrar of Trade Marks

for registration of the Trade Mark “Naturoma”, certain

objections had been filed in her counter statement. In

such objection, it had been clearly indicated that with

a view to effectively market the products under the

Trade Mark “Naturoma”, the Respondent joined hands with

the Appellant by a Deed of Assignment dated 1st October,

2000, whereby she had transferred 50% of her right,

title and interest in favour of the Appellant and

pursuant to such assignment, the Trade Mark application

was now jointly held by Nature Pro Biocare Inc. and

Abhilasha. Mr. Ghosh submitted that the Respondent had

at all times in no uncertain terms reiterated the

assignment effected in favour of the Appellant with
20

regard to the Trade Mark and the goodwill of the

Company. Learned counsel submitted that having done

so, there was no reason for the Registrar of Trade

Marks to cancel the corrigendum by which the name of

the Appellant had been brought on the Trade Mark

Journal as joint owner of the Trade Mark “Naturoma

Herbal” and that too not by any order of cancellation,

but merely by a notification which was issued without

any foundation, since the judgment in the appeal

preferred by the Respondent had not yet been delivered.

Mr. Ghosh submitted that the order of the High Court

and that of the Registrar of Trade Marks canceling the

corrigendum issued by the Registrar of Trade Marks in

favour of the Appellant, were liable to be set aside.

19. On behalf of the Respondent, Mr. Shambhu Prasad

Singh, learned Senior Advocate, submitted that since

the arbitral proceeding was at its last stages and the

Appellant could be adequately compensated in terms of
21

money, the prayer for injunction made on behalf of the

Appellant was liable to be rejected.

20. Apart from the above, Mr. Singh submitted that

although a Deed of Assignment had been executed on 1st

October, 2010, the same had never been acted upon, but

the Appellant sought to take shelter under Clause 19 of

the said Deed after having acted contrary thereto by

forming a Company in the name of “Naturoma Herbals

Private Limited” and applying for registration of the

Respondent’s Trade Mark “Naturoma” in his newly-formed

Company’s name. Referring to the Certificate of

Incorporation and Memorandum of Association of the said

Company, Mr. Singh pointed out that the name of the

Appellant was shown in the Subscribers’ List at Serial

No.1 holding 5000 shares, while his son, Rahul Dhanuka,

was shown to be holding the remaining 5000 shares.
22

21. On the question of grant of injunction to implement

a negative covenant, as envisaged in Section 42 of the

Specific Relief Act, 1963, Mr. Singh urged that the

covenant contained in the Deed of Assignment, which had

not been acted upon, was contrary to the provisions of

Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, and was,

therefore, void.

22. Mr. Singh submitted that prior to the Agreement

entered into between the parties on 1st April, 1999,

regarding marketing and distribution of the goods

manufactured by the Respondent, the Respondent had

obtained Drug Licence on 2nd May, 1997, and Sales Tax

Licence on 13th September, 1997, for marketing and

selling “Naturoma Herbals”. Mr. Singh urged that even

eight years after the Assignment Deed was signed by the

parties, the Respondent’s name continued to be shown in

the Trade Mark Journal as the proprietor of the

aforesaid Trade Mark. Learned counsel submitted that
23

as per the prayer of the Respondent in the application

before the District Judge, Khurda, under Section 9 of

the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, the Court

had initially passed an interim order dated 29th August,

2007, whereby the Appellant and others were restrained

from selling, distributing, manufacturing and marketing

any product in the name of “Naturoma Herbals” or

“Naturoma” or in any other name similar or identical to

the said name. The said ad-interim order was made

absolute on 25th January, 2008, till the disposal of the

suit. The appeal preferred from the said order was

dismissed by the High Court. The review petition filed

thereafter was also dismissed.

23. Mr. Singh then submitted that in addition to the

aforesaid proceeding before the District Judge, Khurda,

the Appellant had also filed an application before the

learned Arbitrator under Section 17 of the Arbitration

and Conciliation Act, 1996, for the self-same reliefs.
24

24. On the question of enforcement of a negative

covenant, Mr. Singh submitted that even in such a case,

the balance of convenience and inconvenience would have

to be taken into consideration. In this regard,

reference was made to the decision of this Court in (i)

Gujarat Bottling Co. Ltd. vs. Coca Cola Company [(1995)

5 SCC 545], (ii) Percept D’Mark (India) (P) Ltd. vs.

Zaheer Khan [(2006) 4 SCC 227] and (iii)K.T. Plantation

Ltd. vs. State of Karnataka [(2007) 7 SCC 125].

25. Mr. Singh urged that the impugned decision of the

High Court was without any illegality or irregularity

and no interference was called for therewith.

26. In a short reply, Mr. Pradip Ghosh submitted that

in the instant case there was no violation of Section

27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, as the injunction

sought for was not on trade or business but in respect

of use of the Trade Mark.
25

27. From the submissions made on behalf of the

respective parties and the materials on record, it is

clear that the Respondent who was a manufacturer of

herbal products entered into an Agreement with the

Appellant resulting in the formation of a Joint Venture

Company under the name and style of “Abhilasha”. The

said Agreement was initially for a period of 5 years

from 1st April, 1999, and, thereafter, extended till 31st

March, 2009. There is also no dispute that a Deed of

Assignment was executed by the Respondent in favour of

the Appellant on 1st October, 2010, assigning 50% of the

right, title and interest in the Trade Mark “Naturoma

Herbal” registered in the name of the Respondent, with

proportional goodwill of the business concerned in the

goods in respect of which the Mark is permanently used,

on certain conditions which have been extracted

hereinbefore. It is also on record that an application

was filed with the Trade Mark authorities for bringing
26

on record the name of the Appellant as the Joint

Proprietor of the Trade Mark and objections filed

thereto were jointly resisted by the Appellant and the

Respondent, accepting the fact that the Appellant was

the owner of 50% of the Trade Mark and all rights,

title and interest accrued therefrom. However, in

2006, it came to light that the Appellant had floated a

Company by the name of “Naturoma Herbals (P) Ltd.” and

it had also applied for registration of the Trade Mark

in the name of that Company. It is at that stage that

the Respondent filed a Suit on 21st August, 2007, under

Sections 134 and 135 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999,

being C.S. No.26 of 2007, in which an ex-parte interim

order was passed on 29th August, 2007, restraining the

Appellant and the Company from selling, distributing,

manufacturing and marketing any of the products in the

name of “Naturoma” or “Naturoma Herbal”. The said ad-
27

interim order was made absolute on 25th January, 2008,

till the disposal of the suit.

28. Thereafter, on 25th September, 2007, the Respondent

cancelled the Agreement dated 1st April, 1999 and also

revoked the Deed of Assignment dated 1st October, 2000.

Immediately thereafter, on 19th December, 2007, the

Appellant filed a fresh application under Section 9 of

the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, before the

District Judge, Khurda, who on 27th December, 2007,

passed an ad-interim order restraining the Respondent

from selling her products by herself or by any other

person, save and except through the Appellant. The

said interim order was made absolute on 22nd May, 2008.

29. At this point of time, there were two apparently

conflicting orders in existence; one by the District

Judge, Khurda, in the Suit filed by the Respondent

restraining the Appellant from selling, distributing,
28

manufacturing or marketing any of the products in the

name of “Naturoma” or “Naturoma Herbal”, and on the

other the District Judge passed an order under Section

9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996,

restraining the Respondent from selling her products by

herself or by any other person, save and except through

the Appellant.

30. The corrigendum by which the Trade Mark Registrar

had on 1st July, 2008, altered the entries in the Trade

Mark Journal, showing the Appellant as the Joint

Proprietor of the Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal”, was

cancelled on 26th September, 2008, without notice to the

Appellant. After the interim order passed on 27th

December, 2007, on the application filed by the

Appellant under Section 9 of the Arbitration and

Conciliation Act, 1996, and the same was made absolute

on 22nd May, 2008, the Respondent preferred an appeal

before the Orissa High Court on 8th July, 2008, being
29

Arb. A. No.17 of 2008. The same was heard on 18th

September, 2008, and judgment was reserved. After

reserving judgment, the High Court allowed the

Respondent to file an affidavit to bring on record

subsequent events which did not form part of the

records, without giving the Appellant an opportunity of

dealing with the same. What is also relevant is the

fact that the said affidavit was relied upon by the

High Court while allowing the Appeal filed by the

Respondent herein. The questions which, therefore,

arise for determination are :

(i) Whether the High Court was justified in

interfering with the order passed by the

District Judge, Khurda in Arb.(P) No.576

of 2007, on account whereof pending

arbitration, the Respondent was restrained

from marketing the products manufactured

by her under the Trade Mark “Naturoma
30

Herbal” or “Naturoma” by herself or

through anyone, except through the

Appellant?

(ii) Whether, pending arbitration proceedings,

an order could have been passed by which

the right acquired by the Appellant under

the Deed of Assignment of 50% of the

right, title and interest in the Trade

Mark “Naturoma Herbal”, could have been

suspended and he could have been

restrained from objecting to the use of

the said Mark by the Respondent?

(iii) Whether the High Court was justified in

relying upon an affidavit filed on behalf

of the Respondent after hearing had been

concluded and judgment had been reserved

in the appeal, without giving the
31

Appellant an opportunity of dealing with

the same?

(iv) Whether the invocation of Section 42 of

the Specific Relief Act, 1963, to enforce

the negative covenant contained in the

Deed of Assignment, was contrary to the

provisions of Section 27 of the Indian

Contract Act, 1872 and was, therefore,

void?

31. As far as the first two questions are concerned,

the terms of the Deed of Assignment clearly indicate

that the Respondent had of her own volition parted with

50% of her right, title and interest in the Trade Mark

“Naturoma Herbal” with proportional goodwill of the

business concerning the goods in respect of which the

Mark was used, absolutely and forever, from the date of

the Deed, namely, 1st October, 2000. It is no doubt
32

true that on behalf of the Respondent it has been

claimed that the Deed of Assignment had never been

acted upon and that, in any event, the same had been

revoked on 25th September, 2007, when the Agreement

dated 1st April, 1999, was cancelled. However, in view

of the provisions of the Deed of Assignment, it is yet

to be adjudicated upon and decided as to whether by

virtue of the revocation of the Deed of Assignment by

the Respondent, the Appellant was no longer entitled to

the benefits of the Trade Mark which had been

transferred to him to the extent of 50% absolutely and

forever. In such circumstances, the order passed by the

District Judge, Khurda, in ARBP No.576 of 2007,

restraining the Respondent from marketing her products

through any person, other than the Appellant, was more

apposite in the facts of the case, as the rights of

both the parties stood protected till such time as a

final decision could be taken in arbitral proceedings,
33

which, in effect, is the object and intention of

Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,

1996.

32. As far as the third question is concerned, it was

inappropriate on the part of the High Court to allow

the Respondent to file an affidavit, on which reliance

was placed, after the hearing had been concluded and

judgment had been reserved, without giving the

Appellant an opportunity of dealing with the same.

However innocuous the additional affidavit may have

been, once the hearing was concluded and judgment was

reserved, it would have been prudent on the part of the

High Court to have given an opportunity to the

Appellant to deal with the same before allowing it to

be taken on record. It has been submitted that the

additional affidavit which was filed on behalf of the

Respondent after the judgment had been reserved by the

Appeal Court, only sought to bring on record the
34

proceedings whereby the corrigendum which had been

issued by the Trade Mark Registrar on 1st July, 2008,

showing the Appellant as the Joint Proprietor of the

Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal”, had been subsequently

cancelled on 26th September, 2008. Since what was

produced was a record of the official proceedings, the

Appellant could not have been prejudiced since he

himself had knowledge of the same.

33. Coming to the last question, as to whether the

invocation of Section 42 of the Specific Relief Act,

1963, to enforce the negative covenant contained in the

Deed of Assignment, was contrary to the provisions of

Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, or not, we

are inclined to accept Mr. Ghosh’s submissions that the

injunction sought for by the Appellant was not to

restrain the Respondent from carrying on trade or

business, but from using the Trade Mark which was the

subject matter of dispute. Accordingly, the provisions
35

of Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, would

not be attracted to the facts in this case. For the

sake of reference, Section 27 of the above Act is

reproduced hereinbelow :-

27. Agreement in restraint of trade, void.-

Every agreement by which any one is restrained

from exercising a lawful profession, trade or

business of any kind, is to that extent void.

Exception 1.- Saving of agreement not to carry

on business of which goodwill is sold.- One who

sells the goodwill of a business may agree with

the buyer to refrain from carrying on a similar

business, within specified local limits, so

long as the buyer, or any person deriving title

to the goodwill from him, carries on a like

business therein, provided that such limits

appear to the Court reasonable, regard being

had to the nature of the business.”

It is obvious that what is declared to be void by

virtue of Section 27 is any Agreement to restrain any

person from exercising his right to carry on a

profession or trade or business and any restraint

thereupon by an Agreement would be void.
36

34. As will be seen from the materials on record, the

Appellant did not ask for any injunction against the

Respondent from carrying on any trade or business, but

he objected to the use by the Respondent of the Trade

Mark, in which he had acquired a 50% interest, while

selling her products.

35. The conditions in the Deed of Assignment clearly

stipulate that all the goods manufactured by the

Respondent under the Trade Mark “Naturoma” would be

marketed solely by the Appellant. It was also

submitted that the said Trade Mark would be used only

in relation to goods connected in the course of trade

with both the parties. One of the other conditions of

the Deed of Assignment was that both the parties would

be entitled to assign their respective shares in the

Trade Mark subject to prior written consent of the

other party, which presupposes that the parties were

the absolute owners of their respective shares in the
37

Trade Mark and even on termination of the joint

venture, as has been done in the instant case, neither

of the parties would be entitled to use or register the

Mark in their own names or jointly with some other

party.

36. Accordingly, having regard to the arbitration

clause, which is Condition No.10 of the terms and

conditions of the Deed of Assignment, the interim order

passed on the application under Section 9 of the

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, filed by the

Appellant in keeping with the terms and conditions

agreed upon between the parties, was justified and

within the jurisdiction of the District Judge, Khurda.

As we have mentioned hereinbefore, the interim order

passed by the learned District Judge, Khurda,

restraining the Respondent from selling her products by

herself or by any other person, save and except through

the Appellant, was apposite to the circumstances. The
38

said order took into consideration the interests of

both the parties flowing from the Agreement and the

Deed of Assignment, pending decision by an Arbitral

Tribunal. The cause of action for the suit filed by

the Respondent before the District Judge, Khurda was

the incorporation of a Company by the Appellant with

his son under the name and style of “Naturoma Herbals

(P) Ltd.” and the subsequent application made before

the Registrar of Trade Marks to register “Naturoma

Herbal” in the name of the said Company. It is in that

context that the interim order was passed restraining

the Appellant from distributing, manufacturing or

marketing any of the products in the name of “Naturoma”

or Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal”. The said order of

injunction did not permit the Respondent to manufacture

and market the goods under the said Trade Mark in

violation of the provisions of the Deed of Assignment

referred to hereinabove.
39

37. The learned Single Judge of the High Court, while

referring to some of the provisions of the Agreement

between the parties, apparently overlooked the

provisions relating to the use of the Trade Mark

contained in the Deed of Assignment. Although,

reference was made to Clause 19 of the Agreement, the

High Court failed to notice that the same was not

contained in the Deed of Assignment, whereby 50% of the

right, title and interest of the Respondent in the

Trade Mark “Naturoma Herbal” was assigned in favour of

the Appellant absolutely and forever. As has been

emphasized hereinbefore, even upon termination of the

joint venture under the Agreement between the parties,

neither the Appellant nor the Respondent would be

entitled to use or register the Mark in their own names

or jointly with some other party. In fact, the

relevant terms and conditions of the Deed of Assignment

had been extracted by the learned Single Judge in the
40

impugned judgment, but the same appear to have been

lost sight of while considering the terms and

conditions of the Agreement executed between the

parties.

38. In our view, this is not a case where money can be

an adequate compensation, since the Appellant has

apparently acquired a 50% interest in the Trade Mark in

question, together with the goodwill of the business in

relation to the products in which the Trade Mark is

used.

39. We are, therefore, of the view that the High Court

erred in reversing the order passed by the District

Judge in ARBP No.576 of 2007 filed by the Appellant,

under which the status-quo would have been maintained

till the dispute was settled in arbitration.

40. We, accordingly, allow the Appeals, set aside the

impugned judgment and order of the learned Single Judge
41

of the High Court impugned in the Appeals and restore

that of the District Judge, Khurda in ARBP No.576 of

2007.

41. However, before parting with the matter, we have to

refer to the order passed by us on 28th January, 2011,

whereby the Respondent had been allowed to continue

with the running of the business, but she was directed

to maintain a separate account in respect of the

transaction and to place the same before us at the time

of hearing of the matter. Such account does not appear

to have been filed, but since we are disposing of the

matter by restoring the order of the District Judge,

Khurda, in ARBP No.576 of 2007, we further direct the

Respondent, as and when arbitral proceedings may be

taken, to furnish such account upto this day before the

learned Arbitrator so that the claims of the parties

can be fully decided by the learned Arbitrator.
42

42. Having regard to the facts of the case, the parties

will bear their own costs in these appeals all

throughout.

……………………………………………………J.

(ALTAMAS KABIR)

……………………………………………………J.

(SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR)

……………………………………………………J.

(GYAN SUDHA MISRA)

New Delhi

Dated: 02.12.2011

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