Supreme Court of India
Quantum Securities Pvt Ltd And Ors vs New Delhi Television Ltd on 1 July, 2015Bench: Vikramajit Sen, Abhay Manohar Sapre


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

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


New Delhi Television Ltd. Respondent(s)


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
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
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.



New Delhi;
July 01, 2015.

(For judgment)

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




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
Leave granted.
The appeals stand accordingly disposed of in terms of the signed
reportable judgment.

Court Master Court Master
(Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file)


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