Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court has issued an order that demonstrates how companies use trivial excuses to delay the legal process in the courts and consume the scarce time of the judiciary. In a February 22 order pertaining to a battle of advertisements of women’s depilation products between Gillette India Ltd and Reckitt Benckiser (India) Pvt Ltd, Patel sarcastically predicted the fate of the case going by the adjournment of three weeks sought by Nimay Dave, lawyer of Gillette India, to file a rejoinder in the case. Gillette India is the petitioner in the case. “Far be it for me to come between Mr Dave and his filings. Since Mr Dave says that there is a substantial reply and his rejoinder is likely to be equally substantial, the rejoinder is to be filed and served in the Registry on or before 15th April 2017. I have no doubt that a sur-rejoinder will also then be necessary. Rather than wasting time in an application for adjournment, affidavit in Sur-Rejoinder to be filed and served on or before 15th June 2017 and this will be followed by a month’s time until 20th July 2017 for an affidavit in sur-sur-rejoinder. At this point all filings will stop. By then the record should have crossed at least 2000 pages. It will take any court some time to read all this material. Hence, list the matter for direction very low on board on 3rd November 2020,” said Patel.
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Patel had on January 11 given both the parties a month to file their replies in connection with the case filed on December 22, 2016. “There is not the slightest urgency, and this is evident from the delay thus far and the application for three weeks’ time for an affidavit in rejoinder. Parties are in the meantime free to advertise, counter-advertise and re-advertise their respective products with such a statement as they believe are permissible or as their in-house legal counsel thinks fit,” said Patel. The judge also said that the court would not entertain any application for priority hearing in the case until Gillette “deposits in advance an amount of not less than Rs 10 lakh to cover a potential order of costs for this attempt to consume scarce judicial time…”