Weekly Legal Updates (4 June to 10 June 2023)

Weekly Legal Updates main objective is to update the legal knowledge of law students, lawyers, academicians and other professionals. If we do not update our legal knowledge regularly, our knowledge become redundant.

Batman wins EU trademark dispute with Italian designer

Caped crusader Batman won a trademark fight with an Italian clothing retailer on Wednesday after Europe’s second-top court sided with an EU patent office, ruling that the Batman logo is distinctive enough to warrant its EU trademark.

Warner Bros Discovery’s (WBD.O) DC Comics, which registered the Batman logo with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) more than two decades ago, faced a challenge from Commerciale Italiana Srl in 2019.

The Italian company had asked EUIPO to annul the trademark for clothing and carnival items, saying that it lacked a distinctive character.

After EUIPO rejected its application, Commerciale Italiana Srl took its grievance to the Luxembourg-based General Court. Judges backed the EU trademark body.

“The evidence submitted to the General Court is not sufficient to show that the EU trade mark representing a bat in an oval surround was devoid of distinctive character on the date of filing of the application for registration,” the Court ruled.

“For the relevant public, that distinctiveness makes it possible to associate, according to EUIPO, the goods covered by the trade mark with DC Comics and to distinguish them from those of other undertakings.”

The Italian company can appeal to the EU Court of Justice, Europe’s highest, on points of law.

The case is T-735/21 | Aprile and Commerciale Italiana v EUIPO – DC Comics (Representation of a bat in an oval surround).

(Courtesy:- Reuters, 7 June 2023)

Supreme Court order on banking fraud: RBI to shortly issue new guidelines

The Reserve Bank will ‘shortly’ come out with revised guidelines on fraudulent account classification to take into account the recent apex court order that asked lenders to ensure natural justice to a defaulter before labelling him a fraudster.
“The SC has given a judgement, saying natural justice has to be provided to a borrower before declaring him a fraud.
“Subsequently, hearing a review petition filed by SBI, the apex court clarified that there was no need to give a personal hearing,” Mukesh Jain, the deputy governor in charge of banking supervision, told reporters during the post-policy presser here on Thursday.
Though State Bank moved the court with a review petition, seeking to know whether the March 27 order only applied prospectively and not affect past decisions, the court led by chief justice DY Chandrachud on May 13 refused to review the order but clarified that a personal hearing meant only that a defaulter should be given adequate notice and an opportunity to make a representation and also that the order would apply only prospectively.

Jain further said, “The RBI is reviewing the entire guidelines on the fraud classification in consultation with various stakeholders and will come out with our guidelines very shortly,”.
“But nevertheless, the SC judgement is applicable to all the regulated entities irrespective of RBI’s guidelines,” he said.

In an order on March 27, the apex court had said banks should provide a reasonable opportunity of hearing to borrowers before declaring an account as fraud.

Upholding a 2020 order of the Telangana High Court, a bench of chief justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli had said the classification of an account as a fraud not only resulted in reporting the crime to investigating agencies but also had other penal and civil consequences for the borrowers.

The principles of natural justice demand that the borrowers must be served a notice, and given an opportunity to explain the conclusions of the forensic audit report, it said.
“Consistent with the principles of natural justice, the lender banks should provide an opportunity to a borrower by furnishing a copy of the audit reports and allow the borrower a reasonable opportunity to submit a representation before classifying the account as fraud. A reasoned order has to be issued on the objections addressed by the borrower,” the bench said.

The judgement was delivered on pleas relating to the Reserve Bank (Frauds Classification and Reporting by Commercial Banks and Select FIs Directions 2016, which were challenged before different high courts primarily on the ground that no opportunity of being heard is envisaged to borrowers before classifying their accounts as fraudulent.

Elaborating on the consequences when a borrower’s account is declared fraud, the apex court said this virtually leads to a credit freeze for the borrower, who is debarred from raising finance from financial markets and capital markets.

The top court said the bar from raising finances could be fatal for the borrower leading to its ‘civil death’ in addition to the infraction of their rights under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

(Courtesy:- The Times of India, 8 June 2023)

SC takes suo motu cognisance of lack of toilets for women lawyers at Ooty court

The Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu (on its own) cognisance of a news report on the lack of toilet facilities for women lawyers within the recently inaugurated court complex in Tamil Nadu’s Ooty and sought a detailed report from the Madras high court administration.

Following the report in the legal news portal Bar and Bench, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, as the administrative head of the Supreme Court, decided to take a suo motu cognisance and directed the placing of the matter before the vacation bench.

The report, dated June 6, said that despite the intervention of the Supreme Court in April and assurance of the Madras high court before it at that time, the lack of toilet facilities continued to be a reason for concerns for their privacy, safety, and hygiene.

After seeking a report from the high court administration on June 6, the CJI directed for registration of a fresh application on the court’s own motion in a writ petition filed by a group of women lawyers from Ooty, which was disposed of in April upon an assurance from the high court administration. The CJI is currently overseas.

(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 9 June 2023)

Exchange of Rs 2,000 notes: SC refuses urgent hearing on plea challenging RBI decision

The Supreme Court Friday refused urgent hearing on a plea challenging the notifications enabling exchange of Rs 2,000 currency notes without any requisition slip and ID proof.

A vacation bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal perused the report filed by the registry, and said there is no urgency in the matter.

The top court directed that the matter be placed before Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud after summer vacations.

The apex court said this is a court and not a public platform and the matter has to end somewhere.
This is second time that the apex court has refused an urgent hearing on the issue.

On June 1, the top court had refused to list for urgent hearing Upadhyay’s plea challenging the notifications and said it would not be taking up such pleas during the summer break.

(Courtesy:- , The Indian Express, 10 June 2023)

Supreme Court Seeks Centre’s Stand On Petition Against Rapido, Uber

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre’s stand on the Delhi government’s plea challenging a high court order staying a notice to bike-taxi aggregators Rapido and Uber and allowing them to operate till the final policy has been notified.

A vacation bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal directed that the copy of the petitions be served to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

“Let the copy of both petitions be served upon the Solicitor General so that views of the Union of India can be taken into account. List on Monday,” the bench said.

Earlier, senior advocate Manish Vashisht, appearing for the Delhi government, said the high court’s decision to stay the government’s notice till the final policy is notified is like virtually allowing the writ petition by Rapido.

On May 26, while issuing a notice to the Delhi government on Rapido’s plea challenging a law that excludes two-wheelers from being registered as transport vehicles, the high court directed that no coercive action should be taken against the bike-taxi aggregator till the final policy was notified.

The high court, which listed Rapido’s plea on August 22 before the registrar for completion of pleading, said, “The counsel for the petitioners (Rapido) submits that policy is under active consideration.” 

(Courtesy:- NDTV, 9 June 2023)

*Disclaimer: – Always check with the original copy of judgment from the Court website.

Legal News in this Weekly Legal Update are compiled by Team www.deepakmiglani.com

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