Decided on December 20,2007

LACOSTE S.A Respondents


- (1.) IN cases involving a challenge to the validity of an interlocutory order, the question of maintainability of an appeal often becomes the subject matter of a forensic debate. The present appeal is no exception and, in our opinion, rightly so because the order under challenge before us is neither a decree within the meaning of Section 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure nor is the same appealable under Order 43 of the Code. An appeal may even then be maintainable provided the order is "judgment" within the meaning of clause 10 of the Letters Patent read with Section 10 of the Delhi High Court act. As to what would amount to a "judgment" under the said two provisions, is not easy to answer. In the absence of any precise definition of what would constitute a "judgment", judicial pronouncements alone remain a guiding factor. These pronouncements have stopped short of drawing an exhaustive list of what would and what would not constitute a "judgment" under clause 10 of the Letters Patent. The result is that the question has to be answered in the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case. Before we do so in the case at hand, we must briefly state the facts leading to the passing of the order under challenge and the essence of the matter which the same deals with.
(2.) THE parties are engaged in a legal fight over the trademark and copyright in what the plaintiff has described as Crocodile Device, in which the plaintiff-respondent claims exclusive ownership. It took the parties nearly four years of long and laborious proceedings before the single Judge to bring the suit to the stage of recording evidence of the plaintiff. In support of its case, the plaintiff filed the affidavits of Shri Christian London, a French national and Shri Anoop Singh, together with certain documents which were not earlier produced by it. No objection, it appears, was raised to the production of the said additional documents by the defendant-appellant no matter the application remained pending for orders for nearly one year. It waited to raise objections to the affidavit of Mr. Christian London and the documents enclosed therewith till the witness arrived from London to depose before the Court. The objections were to the following effect :- (i) That the affidavit which had been executed on foreign soil had not been legalized nor apostilled, hence was no affidavit in the eyes of law (ii) That the documents sought to be exhibited at Sl. No. 2,3,6,7,8,9 and 10 were new documents which had been filed by the plaintiffs for the first time together with affidavits of the witnesses without seeking the permission of the Court and without explaining the reasons for such belated filing. (iii) Certain documents filed by the plaintiff were in a foreign language and no translation thereof had been provided as required under the Delhi High Court Rules; and (iv) That the affidavit contained certain statements and averments which went beyond the pleadings of the parties, hence was inadmissible as any evidence unrelated to any averment in the pleadings, was meaningless.
(3.) THE objections were examined and rejected by a learned Judge of this court by the. order impugned in this appeal. The Court also imposed costs of Rs. 50000/- on the defendant for deliberately delaying the progress and eventual disposal of the suit. The present appeal, as already noticed earlier, assails the said interlocutory order on several grounds.;

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