McDonald’s tells Delhi HC: No overlapping legal proceedings against CPRL, Vikram Bakshi
New Delhi: McDonald’s India on Monday told the Delhi high court that there were neither any overlapping legal proceedings between McDonald’s India and Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt. Limited (CPRL) or its estranged partner Vikram Bakshi nor an interdiction imposed by any court during such proceedings on subsequent litigation between the said parties.
The court was hearing McDonald’s India’s plea against CPRL for the alleged violation of its intellectual property including its trademarks, designs and branding, by continuing to sell their products in the name ‘McDonald’s’ even after the termination of the franchise agreement.
“There is no interdiction at all. There is no suggestion to that effect. This is a completely new aspect,” Rajiv Nayar appearing for McDonald’s India said.
There are two sets of legal proceedings between McDonald’s India and Bakshi or CPRL, one with respect to the allegation of oppression and reinstatement of Bakshi as managing director (MD) before National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and the other with respect to the enforcement of an arbitral award by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) before the high court, Nayar explained.
Nayar argued that since the present case before the court was with respect to the termination of the franchise agreement between McDonald’s India as franchiser and CPRL as franchisee, it was essentially about ‘construing a pure contractual relationship between a franchiser-franchisee’ which comes under the jurisdiction of a civil court. He further argued that this was a completely new aspect and was never a subject matter of litigation before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) or NCLAT or the arbitration proceeding.
The submissions were made after Justice Rajeev Sahai Endlaw expressed his concern on the overlapping scope of proceedings between the parties before various courts.
“Whether I can by my order undo the order of the tribunal? Can another court set it aside and pass an order that is contradictory to its findings?” Justice Endlaw asked.
McDonald’s India and CPRL with its estranged partner Bakshi are parties to multiple legal proceedings before the NCLT, NCLAT and high court. The dispute arose in 2013 when Bakshi was not re-elected as MD. He was reinstated by the Company Law Board (now NCLT) in July 2017. The appeal against the NCLT order is pending before NCLAT. Meanwhile, McDonald’s India had invoked arbitration before the LCIA for termination of the joint venture agreement between McDonald’s India and Bakshi, which passed a partial award in September 2017. Plea for enforcement of the award by MCDonald’s India is also pending before the high court.
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