The Supreme Court has ruled that a high court has the power to appoint an arbitrator in a dispute between two parties if one of them refuses to name an arbitrator according to the contract. If a party is aggrieved by the refusal of the other party to nominate the arbitrator, he can move the court and then the other party cannot object to the court appointing an arbitrator under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. In this case, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation vs Vijay HP Filling Centre, the oil company terminated its contract with the dealer. The latter invoked the arbitration clause and asked HP to name the arbitrator. It did not. So the dealer moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It appointed a district judge as arbitrator. HP appealed against that order to the Supreme Court. It upheld the view of the high court and named one of the retired judge of the Supreme Court as the arbitrator.
Interest on solatium
The land owner whose property has been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act is entitled to interest on the solatium granted, the Supreme Court has held in the judgment, Chhanga Singh vs Union of India. Compensation was awarded in 1986, after assessing the market value of the land. When the owner moved the executing court for higher compensation, it raised the value of the land and also awarded solatium. But interest on it was not awarded. The owner moved the court again, but his plea was rejected. The high court also dismissed his appeal. But on further appeal to the Supreme Court, it allowed interest on solatium, following earlier constitution bench judgments on this question.
Order to remove drug trade mark
The Delhi High Court has dismissed the appeal of United Biotech Ltd against the order of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board in its trade mark dispute with Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. United Biotech had a medicine called Forzid while Orchid had one named Orzid.The latter company moved the board complaining that the names were similar and likely to confuse the public. The board allowed the rectification application and directed the Registrar of Trade Marks to remove the trade mark Forzid from the register. It held that Forzid was deceptively similar to the earlier trade mark Orzid in respect of some pharmaceutical products. Further, it ruled that a trade mark cannot be registered if it is of such nature as to deceive the public or cause confusion or it is similar to an earlier trade mark and goods covered by the trade mark. The division bench of the high court upheld this view.
DRT can regulate own procedure
The Bombay High Court has stated that the Debt Recovery Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) and has the power to regulate its own procedure. The tribunal, under the scheme of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, has the power under the CPC and it can even travel beyond it, provided natural justice is observed, the high court stated in its judgment in the case, Manik Engineering Ltd vs State Bank of India. The bank started recovery proceedings in 1986 in the high court. Later the tribunal was set up and the suit was transferred to it. The debtors argued that they were not aware of it as they were not served notice by the tribunal and the newspaper publication by the bank was not known to them. Therefore, it was argued that the tribunal did not follow the CPC provisions. Rejecting this argument, the high court emphasized that the Act was meant to speed up recovery of debts and therefore the tribunal was conferred special powers. If the tribunal is not able to conclude proceedings expeditiously, the purpose of the law itself will be defeated, the court emphasized while dismissing the petition.
Patent on water filter revoked
The Intellectual Property Appellate Board has revoked the patent granted by the Controller of Patents and Designs to Hindustan Unilever Ltd for a filter device for cleaning water, claiming to improve the performance of “filter cartridges in achieving controlled constant flow rate with effective filtration even after extended application.” The board passed the order on an application by Tata Chemicals Ltd. The latter company intervened claiming that the product of Unilever was not novel. Tata Chemicals stated that it has an Innovation Centre in Pune which is working on water purification methods. The company has recently released in the market a unique and cheap water purifier which requires no energy or running water to operate. The board ruled that “the invention is not new, nor is there any inventive step.”