SHYAM SEL AND POWER LIMITED vs SHYAM STEEL INDUSTRIES LIMITED

SHYAM SEL AND POWER LIMITED vs SHYAM STEEL INDUSTRIES LIMITED

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION 
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1984 OF 2022
[Arising out of SLP(C) No. 4080 of 2022]
SHYAM SEL AND POWER LIMITED 
AND ANOTHER             ...APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
SHYAM STEEL INDUSTRIES LIMITED    ...RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
B.R. GAVAI, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal challenges the judgment and order passed by
the Division Bench of the High Court of Calcutta dated 24th
December 2019, arising out of the order passed by the learned
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Single Judge of the High Court dated 2nd April 2019, by which
the learned Single Judge had granted time to the appellantsdefendants to file affidavit­in­opposition and directed to post
the matter after three weeks.   By the said order, the learned
Single   Judge   also   directed   the   appellants­defendants   to
maintain weekly accounts of sale of the products covered by
Class 6, which are sold under the mark ‘SHYAM’.
3. The facts in the present case are not much in dispute.
The respondent­plaintiff had filed a suit against the appellantsdefendants for infringement of trade mark and passing off.  It is
the   case   of   the   respondent­plaintiff   that   it   has   trade   mark
registration in respect of the word ‘SHYAM’ and diverse label
marks wherein the word ‘SHYAM’ features prominently.  Both
the   respondent­plaintiff   and   the   appellants­defendants
manufacture and sell, inter alia, Thermo­Mechanically treated
bars (hereinafter referred to as “TMT bars”).  It is the case of the
respondent­plaintiff that in the year 2015, it came to know that
the   appellants­defendants   were   using   the   mark   ‘SHYAM’   in
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their products.  The respondent­plaintiff therefore, through its
advocate,   objected   to   such   use.     It   is   the   case   of   the
respondent­plaintiff that the appellants­defendants agreed to
phase out the products that they had manufactured with the
mark ‘SHYAM’ and not to use the said mark ‘SHYAM’ on their
products in future.
4. It is further the case of the respondent­plaintiff that the
appellants­defendants had applied for registration of the mark
‘SHYAM INFRA’.  The respondent­plaintiff had filed its objection
to it.  It is further its case that since the appellants­defendants
did not file their counter­statement, the application lapsed and
was treated as abandoned. 
5. It   is   further   the   case   of   the   respondent­plaintiff   that
towards the end of 2018, the appellants­defendants started to
use the word ‘SHYAM METALICS’ on the packaging of their
TMT   bars.     According   to   respondent­plaintiff,   though   the
appellants­defendants   had   used   the   word   ‘SHYAM’   on   their
invoices and  stationeries, they had  not  used the said word
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‘SHYAM’   on   their   wrappers   in   which   their   TMT   bars   were
packed.  According to the respondent­plaintiff, this was done by
the appellants­defendants only to take advantage of the growing
and expanding business of the respondent­plaintiff and with an
intention   that   the   products   manufactured   and   sold   by   the
appellants­defendants   could   be   passed   off   as   those   of   the
respondent­plaintiff.   In   this   background,   the   respondentplaintiff filed a civil suit being CS No. 63 of 2019 before the
learned Single Judge of the High Court of Calcutta, claiming
infringement of their registered trade mark ‘SHYAM’ and its
variants and also for passing off by the appellants­defendants.
6. Along with the suit, an application being GA No.857 of
2019 in CS No. 63 of 2019 for temporary injunction under
Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
(hereinafter referred to as “CPC”) came to be filed.   The said
application basically claimed an order of injunction restraining
the   appellants­defendants   from   infringing   the   respondentplaintiff’s   trade   mark   ‘SHYAM’   and   its   variants   and   in
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particular,   trade   mark   registration   No.   987596.     The   said
ssapplication sought an injunction restraining the appellantsdefendants   from,   in   any   manner,   passing   off   and   enabling
others to pass off the respondent­plaintiff’s products by use of
trade marks comprising the word ‘SHYAM’ or any other trade
mark similar thereto.  
7. The said suit and the application for temporary injunction
came to be filed in the month of March, 2019.  The application
came up for consideration for grant of ad­interim injunction
before the learned Single Judge on 2nd April 2019.  The learned
Single Judge made a prima facie observation that he was of the
view that ‘SHYAM’ being a part of the business name of the
appellants­defendants,   no   injunction   should   be   passed   to
restrain the appellants­defendants from using the said word
‘SHYAM’ on their packaging.  The learned Single Judge deemed
it appropriate to grant time to the appellants­defendants to file
affidavit­in­opposition, which was directed to be filed within two
weeks from the date of the said order.  It was also clarified that
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no   prayer   for   extension   of   time   shall   be   entertained.     The
learned Single Judge directed the matter to be listed after three
weeks.   Vide the said order, the learned  Single Judge also
directed the appellants­defendants to maintain weekly accounts
of sale of the products covered by Class 6, which are sold under
the mark ‘SHYAM’.  The learned Single Judge also clarified that
the observation made by him in the said order was prima facie
for the purpose of passing an order at the ad­interim stage and
the   same   would   not   have   any   relevance   at   the   time   of
considering and deciding the said application after exchange of
affidavits.
8. Being aggrieved by the said order of the learned Single
Judge,   the   respondent­plaintiff   filed   an   appeal   before   the
Division Bench of the High Court.  The Division Bench of the
High Court by the impugned judgment and order dated 24th
December 2019 though, has observed that “the order of the
learned Single Judge dated 2nd April 2019 is modified”, but in
effect,   has   allowed   the   appeal   and   granted   an   injunction
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restraining   the   appellants­defendants   from,   in   any   way,
manufacturing, selling or advertising their goods with the mark
‘SHYAM’ or with a label or device containing the mark ‘SHYAM’
till   the   disposal   of   the   suit.     Being   aggrieved   thereby,   the
present appeal.
9. This Court, while issuing notice on 16th  June 2020, had
stayed the impugned judgment and order.   The respondentplaintiff had therefore filed an application for vacating stay.
However, this Court found it appropriate to decide the main
appeal itself on merits.  As such, we have heard learned Senior
Counsel for the parties at length.
10. Shri Mukul Rohatgi, learned Senior Counsel appearing on
behalf of the appellants­defendants submitted that the appeal
filed by the respondent­plaintiff before the Division Bench of
the High Court was not tenable. Relying on the judgment of this
Court in the case of  Shah   Babulal   Khimji   v.   Jayaben   D.
Kania and Another1
, learned Senior Counsel submitted that
1 (1981) 4 SCC 8
7
the order passed by the learned Single Judge dated 2nd  April
2019 could not be construed to be a ‘judgment’ within the
meaning of Clause 15 of the Letters Patent of the High Court
(hereinafter referred to as “Letters Patent”) and as such, the
appeal itself was not maintainable.   He submitted that vide
judgment and order impugned before the Division Bench of the
High Court, the learned Single Judge had only granted time to
file the reply and had neither granted nor refused an interim
injunction.     Shri   Rohatgi   submitted   that   the   order   of   the
learned   Single   Judge   is   neither   a   final   judgment   nor   a
preliminary   judgment   nor   an   intermediary/interlocutory
judgment. The learned Senior Counsel submitted that the order
passed by the learned Single Judge would not fall in any of the
categories   carved   out   by   this   Court   in   para   (120)   of   its
judgment in the case of Shah Babulal Khimji (supra).
11. Shri Rohatgi further submitted that in any case, the view
taken by the learned Single Judge could not be construed to be
either   impossible   or   perverse,   warranting   interference.     The
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learned Senior Counsel relies on the judgment of this Court in
the case of Wander Ltd. and Another v. Antox India P. Ltd2
.
Shri Rohatgi further submitted that the Division Bench of the
High Court has in fact usurped the jurisdiction of the learned
Single Judge to decide an application under Order XXXIX Rules
1 and 2 CPC.  Relying on the judgment of this Court in the case
of  Monsanto   Technology   LLC   Through   the   authorized
representative Ms Natalia Voruz and Others v. Nuziveedu
Seeds Limited Through Director and Others3
, he submitted
that it was impermissible for the Division Bench  of the High
Court to do so.
12. Shri   Neeraj   Kishan   Kaul,   learned   Senior   Counsel
appearing on behalf of the respondent­plaintiff submitted that
the Division Bench of the High Court had rightly interfered with
the order passed by the learned Single Judge.   He submitted
that it is a settled principle of law that an order of injunction
would be issued wherever an infringement of a registered trade
2 1990 Supp SCC 727
3 (2019) 3 SCC 381
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mark is established.  He relies on the recent judgment of this
Court in the case of  Renaissance Hotel Holdings  Inc. v. B.
Vijaya Sai and Others4
13. Insofar as the objection of the appellants­defendants with
regard   to   maintainability   of   the   appeal   before   the   Division
Bench of the High Court is concerned, Shri Kaul would submit
that the view taken by this Court in the case of Shah Babulal
Khimji  (supra)   would   rather   support   the   case   of   the
respondent­plaintiff than that of the appellants­defendants.  He
submitted   that   since   a   vital   and   valuable   right   of   the
respondent­plaintiff was infringed by non­grant of ad­interim
order by the learned Single Judge, the appeal was very much
tenable.     He   submitted   that   it   is   not   in   dispute   that   the
respondent­plaintiff is the registered owner of the trade mark
‘SHYAM’.  As such, once the infringement thereof was brought
to the notice of the learned Single Judge, the learned Single
Judge ought to have granted ad­interim relief restraining the
4 2022 SCC OnLine SC 61 [Civil Appeal No.404 of 2022 dated 19.01.2022]
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appellants­defendants   from   using   the   said   trade   mark   and
passing off their goods as that of the respondent­plaintiff.  He
therefore submitted that no interference is warranted in the
present appeal.
14. Though both  the parties have addressed this Court at
length on merits of the matter and have also taken us through
voluminous documents, we do not find it necessary to go into
those issues.  The present appeal arises out of an order passed
by   the   Division   Bench   of   the  High   Court   in   an   intra­court
appeal   challenging   the   order   passed   by   the   learned   Single
Judge vide which the learned Single Judge had granted time to
the   appellants­defendants   to   file   affidavit­in­opposition   and
postponed the hearing of the application seeking injunction.
15. We are of the considered view that any observation on
merits by this Court would prejudice the rights of either of the
parties and therefore, we are restricting ourselves to consider
the question with regard to tenability of the appeal against the
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order of the learned Single Judge and the correctness of the
approach of the Division Bench of the High Court.
16. An intra­court appeal lies to the Division Bench of the
High Court under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent.  Clause 15 of
the Letters Patent enables a party to appeal to the Division
Bench of the High Court against an order of the Single Judge.
A three­Judge Bench of this Court in the case of Shah Babulal
Khimji  (supra) had an occasion to consider the question as to
what would be meant by the term ‘judgment’ used in Clause 15
of the Letters Patent.  In the said case, the plaintiff had filed a
suit on the original side of the Bombay High Court for specific
performance of a contract and prayed for an interim relief by
appointing a receiver of the suit­property and injuncting the
defendant   from   disposing   of   the   suit­property   during   the
pendency of the suit. The Single Judge of the High Court after
hearing   the   notice   of   motion   had   dismissed   the   said
application. The plaintiff therefore filed an appeal before the
Division Bench of the High Court.  The Division Bench of the
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High Court held that the order of the Single Judge refusing to
appoint a receiver and to grant an injunction could not be
construed to be a ‘judgment’ as contemplated by Clause 15 of
the Letters Patent.   Being aggrieved thereby, the plaintiff had
approached this Court.  Justice S. Murtaza Fazal Ali, speaking
for himself and Justice Varadarajan, observed thus:
109. Clause 15 makes no attempt to define what a
judgment is. As letters patent is a special law which
carves out its own sphere, it would not be possible
for   us   to   project   the   definition   of   the   word
“judgment” appearing in Section 2(9) of the Code of
1908,   which   defines   “judgment”   into   the   letters
patent:
“‘Judgment’  means   the   statement   given
by the Judge of the grounds of a decree
or order.”
110. In Mt. Shahzadi Begam, v. Alak Nath [AIR 1935
All 620 : 1935 ALJ 681 : 157 IC 347] , Sulaiman,
C.J.,   very   rightly   pointed   out   that   as   the   letters
patent were drafted long before even the Code of
1882 was passed, the word “judgment” used in the
letters patent cannot be relatable to or confined to
the   definition   of   “judgment”   as   contained   in   the
Code of Civil Procedure which came into existence
long   after   the   letters   patent   were   given.   In   this
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connection, the Chief Justice observed [29 Cal LJ
225] as follows:
“It has been held in numerous cases that
as   the   letters   patent   were   drafted   long
before even the earlier Code of 1882 was
passed, the word ‘judgment’ used therein
does not mean the judgment as defined
in the existing Code of Civil Procedure. At
the same time the word ‘judgment’ does
not   include   every   possible   order,   final,
preliminary or interlocutory passed by a
Judge of the High Court.”
111. We find ourselves in complete agreement with
the observations made by the Allahabad High Court
on this aspect of the matter.
112. The definition of the word “judgment” in subsection (9) of Section 2 of the Code of 1908 is linked
with the definition of “decree” which is defined in
sub­section (2) of Section 2 thus:
“ ‘Decree’ means the formal expression of
an adjudication which, so far as regards
the   Court   expressing   it,   conclusively
determines the rights of the parties with
regard   to   all   or   any   of   the   matters   in
controversy in the suit and may be either
preliminary or final. It shall be deemed to
include the rejection of a plaint and the
determination   of   any   question   within
Section 47 or Section 144, but shall not
include—
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(a)   any   adjudication   from   which   an
appeal lies as an appeal from an order, or
(b) any order of dismissal for default.
Explanation.—A   decree   is   preliminary
when   further   proceedings   have   to   be
taken before the suit can be completely
disposed   of.   It   is   final   when   such
adjudication   completely   disposes   of   the
suit.   It   may   be   partly   preliminary   and
partly final.”
113. Thus,  under  the  Code  of  Civil  Procedure,  a
judgment consists of the reasons and grounds for a
decree passed by a court. As a judgment constitutes
the reasons for the decree it follows as a matter of
course   that   the   judgment   must   be   a   formal
adjudication   which   conclusively   determines   the
rights of the parties with regard to all or any of the
matters in controversy.  The concept of a judgment
as defined by the Code of Civil Procedure seems to
be rather narrow and the limitations engrafted by
sub­section (2) of Section 2 cannot be physically
imported into the definition of the word “judgment”
as used in clause 15 of the letters patent because
the letters patent has advisedly not used the terms
“order”   or   “decree”   anywhere.   The   intention,
therefore, of the givers of the letters patent was that
the word “judgment” should receive a much wider
and   more   liberal   interpretation   than   the   word
“judgment” used in the Code of Civil Procedure. At
the same time, it cannot be said that any order
passed   by   a   trial   Judge   would   amount   to   a
judgment;   otherwise   there   will   be   no  end  to   the
number of orders which would be appealable under
the   letters  patent.  It  seems to   us  that  the   word
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“judgment” has undoubtedly a concept of finality in
a broader and not a narrower sense. In other words,
a judgment can be of three kinds:
(1) A final judgment.— A judgment which
decides   all   the   questions   or   issues   in
controversy so far as the trial Judge is
concerned and leaves nothing else to be
decided. This would mean that by virtue
of   the   judgment,   the   suit   or   action
brought by the plaintiff is dismissed or
decreed in part or in full. Such an order
passed   by   the   trial   Judge   indisputably
and unquestionably is a judgment within
the   meaning   of   the   letters   patent   and
even   amounts   to   a   decree   so   that   an
appeal would lie from such a judgment to
a Division Bench.
(2) A preliminary judgment.—This kind of
a   judgment   may   take   two   forms—(a)
where   the   trial   Judge   by   an   order
dismisses the suit without going into the
merits   of   the   suit   but   only   on   a
preliminary   objection   raised   by   the
defendant or the party opposing on the
ground that the suit is not maintainable.
Here also, as the suit is finally decided
one way or the other, the order passed by
the   trial   Judge   would   be   a   judgment
finally deciding the cause so far as the
Trial   Judge   is   concerned   and   therefore
appealable   to   the   larger   Bench.   (b)
Another   shape   which   a   preliminary
judgment may take is that where the trial
Judge passes an order after hearing the
preliminary   objections   raised   by   the
defendant   relating   to   maintainability   of
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the   suit,   e.g.,   bar   of   jurisdiction, res
judicata,   a   manifest   defect   in   the   suit,
absence of notice under Section 80 and
the like, and these objections are decided
by the trial Judge against the defendant,
the suit is not terminated but continues
and has to be tried on merits but the
order   of   the   trial   Judge   rejecting   the
objections   doubtless   adversely   affects   a
valuable right of the defendant who, if his
objections are valid, is entitled to get the
suit   dismissed   on   preliminary   grounds.
Thus, such an order even though it keeps
the   suit   alive,   undoubtedly   decides   an
important aspect of the trial which affects
a vital right of the defendant and must,
therefore, be construed to be a judgment
so as to be appealable to a larger Bench.
(3) Intermediary or interlocutory judgment.
— Most of the interlocutory orders which
contain the quality of finality are clearly
specified in clauses (a) to (w) of Order 43
Rule 1 and have already been held by us
to be judgments within the meaning of
the   letters   patent   and,   therefore,
appealable.   There   may   also   be
interlocutory   orders   which   are   not
covered by Order 43 Rule 1 but which
also   possess   the   characteristics   and
trappings of finality in that, the orders
may adversely affect a valuable right of
the party or decide an important aspect
of   the   trial   in   an   ancillary   proceeding.
Before such an order can be a judgment
the adverse effect on the party concerned
must   be   direct   and   immediate   rather
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than   indirect   or   remote.   For   instance,
where   the   trial   Judge   in   a   suit   under
Order 37 of the Code of Civil Procedure
refuses the defendant leave to defend the
suit,   the   order   directly   affects   the
defendant   because   he   loses   a   valuable
right to defend the suit and his remedy is
confined   only   to   contest   the   plaintiff's
case on his own evidence without being
given a chance to rebut that evidence. As
such an order vitally affects a valuable
right of the defendant it will undoubtedly
be   treated   as   a   judgment   within   the
meaning of the letters patent so as to be
appealable to a larger Bench. Take the
converse case in a similar suit where the
trial Judge allows the defendant to defend
the   suit   in   which   case   although   the
plaintiff   is   adversely   affected   but   the
damage or prejudice caused to him is not
direct   or   immediate   but   of   a   minimal
nature and rather too remote because the
plaintiff  still possesses  his full  right  to
show   that   the   defence   is   false   and
succeed in the suit. Thus, such an order
passed   by   the   trial   Judge   would   not
amount   to   a   judgment   within   the
meaning of clause 15 of the letters patent
but will be purely an interlocutory order.
Similarly, suppose the trial Judge passes
an order setting aside an ex parte decree
against   the   defendant,   which   is   not
appealable under any of the clauses of
Order   43   Rule   1   though   an   order
rejecting an application to set aside the
decree passed ex parte falls within Order
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43 Rule 1 clause (d) and is appealable,
the   serious   question   that   arises   is
whether or not the order first mentioned
is   a   judgment   within   the   meaning   of
letters patent. The fact, however, remains
that the order setting aside the ex parte
decree   puts   the   defendant   to   a   great
advantage and works serious injustice to
the plaintiff because as a consequence of
the order, the plaintiff has now to contest
the suit and is deprived of the fruits of
the decree passed in his favour. In these
circumstances,   therefore,   the   order
passed by the trial Judge setting aside
the   ex   parte   decree   vitally   affects   the
valuable rights of the plaintiff and hence
amounts   to   an   interlocutory   judgment
and is therefore, appealable to a larger
Bench.”
114. In the course of the trial, the trial Judge may
pass   a   number   of   orders   whereby   some   of   the
various   steps   to   be   taken   by   the   parties   in
prosecution of the suit may be of a routine nature
while other orders may cause some inconvenience
to one party or the other, e.g., an order refusing an
adjournment,   an   order   refusing   to   summon   an
additional witness or documents, an order refusing
to condone delay in filing documents, after the first
date   of   hearing   an   order   of   costs   to   one   of   the
parties   for   its   default   or   an   order   exercising
discretion in respect of a procedural matter against
one   party   or   the   other.   Such   orders   are   purely
interlocutory   and   cannot   constitute   judgments
because it will always be open to the aggrieved party
to make a grievance of the order passed against the
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party   concerned   in   the   appeal   against   the   final
judgment passed by the trial Judge.
115. Thus, in other words every interlocutory order
cannot be regarded as a judgment but only those
orders would be judgments which decide matters of
moment or affect vital and valuable rights of the
parties   and   which   work   serious   injustice   to   the
party   concerned.   Similarly,   orders   passed   by   the
trial   Judge   deciding   question   of   admissibility   or
relevancy of a document also cannot be treated as
judgments because the grievance on this score can
be corrected by the appellate court in appeal against
the final judgment.
116. We   might   give   another   instance   of   an
interlocutory order which amounts to an exercise of
discretion and which may yet amount to a judgment
within the meaning of the letters patent. Suppose
the  trial Judge allows the plaintiff to  amend  his
plaint or include a cause of action or a relief as a
result of which a vested right of limitation accrued
to   the   defendant   is   taken   away   and   rendered
nugatory. It is manifest that in such cases, although
the   order   passed   by   the   trial   Judge   is   purely
discretionary   and   interlocutory,   it   causes   gross
injustice   to   the   defendant   who   is   deprived   of   a
valuable right of defence to the suit. Such an order,
therefore, though interlocutory in nature contains
the   attributes   and   characteristics   of   finality   and
must be treated as a judgment within the meaning
of the letters patent. This is what was held by this
Court in Shanti Kumar case [(1974) 2 SCC 387 : AIR
1974 SC 1719 : (1975) 1 SCR 550] , as discussed
above.
20
117. Let us take another instance of a similar order
which may not amount to a judgment. Suppose, the
trial Judge allows the plaintiff to amend the plaint
by adding a particular relief or taking an additional
ground which may be inconsistent with the pleas
taken by him but is not barred by limitation and
does not work serious injustice to the defendant
who would have ample opportunity to disprove the
amended plea taken by plaintiff at the trial. In such
cases, the order of the trial Judge would only be a
simple interlocutory order without containing any
quality   of   finality   and   would   therefore   not   be   a
judgment within the meaning of clause 15 of the
letters patent.
118. The   various   instances   given   by   us   would
constitute   sufficient   guidelines   to   determine
whether or not an order passed by the trial Judge is
a judgment within the meaning of the letters patent.
We   must   however   hasten   to   add   that   instances
given by us are illustrative and not exhaustive. We
have already referred to the various tests laid down
by the Calcutta, Rangoon and Madras High Courts.
So far as the Rangoon High Court is concerned we
have already pointed out that the strict test that an
order   passed   by   the   trial   Judge   would   be   a
judgment only if it amounts to a decree under the
Code of Civil Procedure, is legally erroneous and
opposed to the very tenor and spirit of the language
of the letters patent. We, therefore, do not approve
of the test laid down by the Rangoon High Court
and that decision therefore has to be confined only
to  the facts of that  particular case because that
being   a   case   of   transfer,   it   is   manifest   that   no
21
question of any finality was involved in the order of
transfer. We  would like to  adopt and approve of
generally the tests laid down by Sir White, C.J.,
in Tuljaram Row case [ILR 35 Mad 1] (which seems
to have been followed by most of the High Courts)
minus   the   broader   and   the   wider   attributes
adumbrated by Sir White, C.J., or more explicitly by
Krishnaswamy  Ayyar,  J.   as  has   been   referred  to
above.
119. Apart from the tests laid down by Sir White,
C.J., the following considerations must prevail with
the court:
“(1) That the trial Judge being a senior
court   with   vast   experience   of   various
branches of law occupying a very high
status   should   be   trusted   to   pass
discretionary or interlocutory orders with
due regard to the well settled principles of
civil   justice.   Thus,   any   discretion
exercised or routine orders passed by the
trial Judge in the course of the suit which
may   cause   some   inconvenience   or,   to
some extent, prejudice to one party or the
other cannot be treated as a judgment
otherwise   the   appellate   court   (Division
Bench) will be flooded with appeals from
all   kinds   of   orders   passed   by   the   trial
Judge.   The   courts   must   give   sufficient
allowance to the trial Judge and raise a
presumption that any discretionary order
which he passes must be presumed to be
correct   unless   it   is ex   facie legally
erroneous   or   causes   grave   and
substantial injustice.
22
(2) That the interlocutory order in order
to be a judgment must contain the traits
and trappings of finality either when the
order   decides   the   questions   in
controversy in an ancillary proceeding or
in   the   suit   itself   or   in   a   part   of   the
proceedings.
(3) The tests laid down by Sir White, C.J.
as also by Sir Couch, C.J. as modified by
later decisions of the Calcutta High Court
itself which have been dealt with by us
elaborately should be borne in mind.”
120. Thus, these are some of the principles which
might guide a Division Bench in deciding whether
an order passed by the trial Judge amounts to a
judgment within the meaning of the letters patent.
We might, however, at the risk of repetition give
illustrations of interlocutory orders which may be
treated as judgments:
(1) An order granting leave to amend the
plaint   by   introducing   a   new   cause   of
action which completely alters the nature
of the suit and takes away a vested right
of limitation or any other valuable right
accrued to the defendant.
(2) An order rejecting the plaint.
(3) An order refusing leave to defend the
suit in an action under Order 37, of the
Code of Civil Procedure.
23
(4) An order rescinding leave of the trial
Judge granted by him under clause 12 of
the letters patent.
(5)   An   order   deciding   a   preliminary
objection   to   the   maintainability   of   the
suit on the ground of limitation, absence
of notice under Section 80, bar against
competency   of   the   suit   against   the
defendant even though the suit is kept
alive.
(6) An order rejecting an application for a
judgment on admission under Order 12
Rule 6.
(7)  An  order  refusing   to  add   necessary
parties in a suit under Section 92 of the
Code of Civil Procedure.
(8)   An   order   varying   or   amending   a
decree.
(9)   An   order   refusing   leave   to   sue   in
forma pauperis.
(10) An order granting review.
(11) An order allowing withdrawal of the
suit with liberty to file a fresh one.
(12) An order holding that the defendants
are not agriculturists within the meaning
of the special law.
(13) An order staying or refusing to stay a
suit under Section 10 of the Code of Civil
Procedure.
(14) An order granting or refusing to stay
execution of the decree.
(15) An order deciding payment of court
fees against the plaintiff.”
24
121. Here, it may be noted that whereas an order
deciding the nature of the court fees to be paid by
the plaintiff would be a judgment but this order
affects only the plaintiff or the Government and not
the   defendant.   Thus,   only   the   plaintiff   or   the
Government as the case may be will have the right
to file an appeal in the Division Bench and not the
defendant because the question of payment of court
fees is a matter between the Government and the
plaintiff   and   the   defendant   has   no   locus   in   this
regard.
122. We have by way of sample laid down various
illustrative examples of an order which may amount
to judgment but it is not possible to give such an
exhaustive list as may cover all possible cases. Law
with   its   dynamism,   pragmatism   and   vastness   is
such a large ocean that it is well­nigh impossible for
us   to   envisage   or   provide   for   every   possible
contingency or situation so as to evolve a device or
frame an exhaustive formula or strategy to confine
and   incarcerate   the   same   in   a   strait­jacket.   We,
however,   hope   and   trust   that   by   and   large   the
controversy   raging   for   about   a   century   on   the
connotation of the term “judgment” would have now
been settled and a few cases which may have been
left out, would undoubtedly be decided by the court
concerned in the light of the tests, observations and
principles enunciated by us.
123. In the instant case, as the order of the trial
Judge was one refusing appointment of a receiver
and   grant   of   an   ad­interim   injunction,   it   is
undoubtedly a judgment within the meaning of the
letters patent both because in view of our judgment.
25
Order 43 Rule 1 applies to internal appeals in the
High Court and apart from it such an order even on
merits contains the  quality of finality and would
therefore   be   a   judgment   within   the   meaning   of
clause 15 of the letters patent. The consistent view
taken by the Bombay High Court in the various
cases noted above or other cases which may not
have   been   noticed   by   us   regarding   the   strict
interpretation of clause 15 of the letters patent are
hereby  overruled  and  the   Bombay  High  Court  is
directed to decide the question in future in the light
of our decision.
124. We, therefore, hold that the order passed by
the trial Judge in the instant case being a judgment
within   the   meaning   of   clause   15   of   the   letters
patent, the appeal before the Division Bench was
maintainable and the Division Bench of the High
Court was in error in dismissing the appeal without
deciding it on merits. We have already directed the
High Court to decide the appeal on merits by our
formal order dated April 22, 1981.”
17. It could thus be seen that though this Court has held that
the term ‘judgment’ used in Letters Patent could not be given a
narrower meaning as is given to the term ‘judgment’ used in
CPC and that it should receive a much wider and more liberal
interpretation, however, at the same time, each and every order
passed   by   the   trial   judge   could   not   be   construed   to   be   a
26
‘judgment’ inasmuch as there will be no end to the number of
orders which would be appealable under the Letters Patent.  It
has been held that the word ‘judgment’ has undoubtedly a
concept of finality in a broader and not in a narrower sense.  It
has been held that where an order vitally affects a valuable
right of the defendants, it will undoubtedly be treated as a
‘judgment’ within the meaning of Letters Patent so as to be
appealable to a larger Bench.
18. It has been held that most of the interlocutory orders
which contain the  quality of finality are clearly specified in
clauses (a) to (w) of Order XLIII Rule 1 CPC and would be
‘judgments’   within   the   meaning   of   the   letters   patent   and,
therefore,   appealable.   However,   there   may   be   interlocutory
orders which are not covered by Order XLIII Rule 1 CPC but
which also possess the characteristics and trappings of finality
inasmuch as such orders may adversely affect a valuable right
of the party or decide an important aspect of the trial in an
ancillary proceeding. It has further been held that however, for
27
such an order to be a ‘judgment’, an adverse effect on the party
concerned must be direct and immediate rather than indirect or
remote.  Various illustrations of interlocutory orders have been
given by this Court in para (120), which could be held to be
appealable.     This   Court   held   that   though   any   discretion
exercised or routine orders passed by the trial Judge in the
course of the suit may cause some inconvenience or, to some
extent, prejudice to one party or the other, they cannot be
treated   as   a   ‘judgment’   unless   they   contain   the   traits   and
trappings of finality.   This Court has expressed in para (122)
that   though   it   had,   by   way   of   sample,   laid   down   various
illustrative   examples   of   an   order   which   may   amount   to   a
judgment, it would not be possible to give such an exhaustive
list as may cover all possible areas. This Court, in the facts of
the said case, held that an order of the Single Judge refusing
appointment of a receiver and grant of an ad­interim injunction
was undoubtedly a ‘judgment’ within the meaning of Letters
Patent, both because Order XLIII Rule 1 CPC applies to internal
28
appeals in the High Court and that such an order even on
merits contains the quality of finality and would therefore be a
‘judgment’   within   the   meaning   of   Clause   15   of   the   Letters
Patent.
19. Justice A.N. Sen, while holding that the order in question
was   appealable   under  Section  104(1)   read   with  Order   XLIII
CPC, did not find it necessary to go into the question as to
whether such an order would be appealable under Clause 15 of
the Letters Patent.  It will be apposite to refer to the following
observations of the learned Judge:
“151.  ……In   my   opinion,   an   exhaustive   or   a
comprehensive   definition   of   ‘judgment’   as
contemplated   in   Clause   15   of   the   Letters   Patent
cannot   be   properly   given   and   it   will   be   wise   to
remember that in the Letters Patent itself, there is
no definition of the word ‘judgment’.  The expression
has necessarily to be construed and interpreted in
each particular case.  It is, however, safe to say that
if any order has the effect of finally determining any
controversy forming the subject­matter of the suit
itself or any part thereof or the same affects the
question of court’s jurisdiction or the question of
limitation, such an order will normally constitute
‘judgment’ within the meaning of Clause 15 of the
Letters Patent…….”
29
20. Justice Sen reiterated that it was safe to say that if any
order   has   the   effect   of   finally   determining   any   controversy
forming the subject­matter of the suit itself or any part thereof
or the same affects the question of court’s jurisdiction or the
question of limitation, such an order will normally constitute
‘judgment’ within the meaning of Clause 15 of Letters Patent.
He however observed that the expression has necessarily to be
construed and interpreted in each particular case.
21. It could thus be seen that both the judgments of Justice
S. Murtaza Fazal Ali as well as Justice A.N. Sen have a common
thread   that,   as   to   whether   an   order   impugned   would   be   a
‘judgment’  within the  scope of  Clause  15  of Letters Patent,
would   depend   on   facts   and   circumstances   of   each   case.
However, for such an order to be construed as a ‘judgment’, it
must have the traits and trappings of finality.  To come within
the ambit of ‘judgment’, such an order must affect vital and
valuable rights of the parties, which works serious injustice to
30
the party concerned.  Each and every order passed by the Court
during   the   course   of   the   trial,   though   may   cause   some
inconvenience to one of the parties or, to some extent, some
prejudice   to   one   of   the   parties,   cannot   be   treated   as   a
‘judgment’.  If such is permitted, the floodgate of appeals would
be open against the order of Single Judge.
22. In the light of this observation, we will have to consider as
to whether the order passed by the learned Single Judge dated
2
nd April 2019, could be construed as a ‘judgment’ within the
meaning of Clause 15 of Letters Patent.
23. What the learned Single Judge has done by the said order,
was to grant two weeks’ time to the  appellants­defendants  to
file affidavit­in­opposition and postpone the issue of grant of
ad­interim   injunction   by   three   weeks.     No   doubt,   that   the
learned Single Judge has at one place observed that prima
facie, he was of the view that ‘SHYAM’ being  a part of the
business   name   of   the   appellants­defendants,   no   injunction
should be passed to restrain the appellants­defendants from
31
using the said word ‘SHYAM’ on their packaging, but in the
same order, he has clarified that all the observations he has
made in the said order were prima facie for the purpose of
passing an order at the ad­interim stage and the same would
have no relevance at the time of considering and deciding the
said application after exchange of affidavits.  
24. It   could   thus   be   seen   that   the   order   in   fact   was
postponement of the question as to whether the respondentplaintiff was entitled to grant of an ad­interim injunction or not,
and that too, by merely three weeks.  The order was only giving
an   opportunity   to   the   appellants­defendants   to   file   their
affidavit­in­opposition within a period of two weeks.  The order
clarified   that   no   prayer   for   extension   of   time   shall   be
entertained.  The learned Single Judge therefore postponed the
issue   with   regard   to   consideration   of   the   prayer   of   the
respondent­plaintiff   for   grant   of   ad­interim   injunction   by   a
period of mere three weeks and that too only in order to afford
an   opportunity   to   the   appellants­defendants   to   file   their
32
affidavit­in­opposition. While doing the same, the respondentplaintiff’s   interest   was   also   protected,   inasmuch   as   the
appellants­defendants   were   directed   to   maintain   weekly
accounts of sale of their products covered by Class 6, which
were sold under the mark ‘SHYAM’. 
25. It is thus clear that there was no adjudication with regard
to the rights of the respondent­plaintiff to get an ad­interim
injunction   during   the   pendency   of   the   suit.     Though   by
postponement of the issue with regard to grant of ad­interim
injunction, the order might have caused some inconvenience
and   may   be,   to   some   extent,   prejudice   to   the   respondentplaintiff;   the   same   could   not   be   treated   as   a   ‘judgment’
inasmuch as there was no conclusive finding as to whether the
respondent­plaintiff   was   entitled   for   grant   of   ad­interim
injunction or not. As such, the order passed by the learned
Single Judge did not contain the traits and trappings of finality.
If it is held otherwise, this will open a floodgate of appeals for
parties who may even challenge the order of adjournment or
33
grant of time to the other side to file affidavit­in­reply.  We are
therefore of the considered view that the order dated 2nd April
2019   cannot   be   construed   to   be   a   ‘judgment’   within   the
meaning of Clause 15 of Letters Patent and as such, the appeal
to the Division Bench of the High Court was not tenable.  
26. We clarify that as held in Shah Babulal Khimji  (supra),
we   are   holding   so,   taking   into   consideration   the   facts   and
circumstances as they appear in the present matter.
27. With this, we could have very well allowed the present
appeal by setting aside the impugned judgment and order of
the Division Bench of the High Court.  However, since we find
that the approach of the Division Bench of the High Court was
totally contrary to the various well­settled principles of law, we
are required to consider the correctness of various findings and
observations of the Division Bench of the High Court in the
impugned judgment and order.
28. The learned Single Judge passed an order on 2nd  April
2019.  It appears that the appeal to the Division Bench of the
34
High Court was filed immediately thereafter in the month of
April, though the exact date of filing of appeal is not known.
The judgment and order impugned herein was passed after a
gap of about 8­9 months from the date of the order passed by
the learned Single Judge.   The perusal of the judgment and
order impugned herein would clearly reveal that the counsel for
the appellants­defendants had specifically submitted that the
appeal   was   against   an   ad­interim   order   and   therefore,   the
appellate court should not interfere by substituting its views
but   should   instead   direct   a   speedy   hearing   of   the   interim
application of the respondent­plaintiff. The Division Bench of
the High Court after recording the said submission, observed
thus: 
“Before entering into a discussion with regard to the
merits of this case I say that all the facts and papers
which were necessary for deciding the prima facie
case of the parties were before us.  On these facts
and evidence we were in a position to assess their
respective   prima   facie   case   and   the   balance   of
convenience.
In those circumstances we propose to dispose of the
interlocutory   application   ourselves   instead   of
35
entering a prima facie finding and relegating it to
the court below for its disposal.   That would be
unnecessary prolongation of the litigation and utter
wastage of time.”
29. It is difficult to appreciate the anxiety on the part of the
Division   Bench   of   the   High   Court   to   itself   dispose   of   the
interlocutory application instead of relegating it to the court
below for its disposal.   When the Division Bench of the High
Court itself took 8­9 months to decide the appeal, it is difficult
to understand as to what the learned Judges of the Division
Bench of the High Court meant by “unnecessary prolongation of
the litigation and utter wastage of time”.  If the learned Judges
of   the   Division   Bench   were   so   much   concerned   with   the
prolongation of litigation, they could have very well requested
the learned Single Judge to decide the injunction application
within a stipulated period.  Instead of waiting for a period of 8­9
months, this could have been done by them at the very first
instance when the appeal was listed.  The hierarchy of the trial
court and  the appellate  court  exists  so  that the  trial court
36
exercises its discretion upon the settled principles of law.  An
appellate court, after the findings of the trial court are recorded,
has an advantage of appreciating the view taken by the trial
judge   and   examining   the   correctness   or   otherwise   thereof
within the limited area available.   If the appellate court itself
decides the matters required to be decided by the trial court,
there would be no necessity to have the hierarchy of courts. As
observed by this Court in Monsanto Technology LLC  (supra),
the appellate court cannot usurp the jurisdiction of the Single
Judge to decide as to whether the tests of prima facie case,
balance of convenience and irreparable injury are made out in
the case or not.
30. Though   there   are   various   observations   made   by   the
Division Bench of the High Court, which in our view, are totally
unwarranted,   we   refrain   ourselves   to   refer   to   them   as   any
comment thereon would unnecessarily prejudice the rights of
either   of   the   parties.     We   will   only   limit   ourselves   to   the
37
minimum possible observations of the Division Bench of the
High Court.  
31. Though the Division Bench of the High Court, referring to
the judgment of this Court in the case of Wander Ltd. (supra),
observes that the appellate court will not substitute its opinion
with that of the trial court in an interim application unless
there is a perversity in the order, it fails to discuss as to how
the   view   taken   by   the   trial   judge   was   either   perverse   or
impossible.  At one place, the Division Bench of the High Court
observes that: 
“Now,   the   question   is   whether   the   learned   single
judge exercised his discretion correctly and whether
this   court   should   interfere   with   that   exercise   of
discretion.” 
and in the same breath observes that: 
“Therefore, we have considered the case on the basis
of  the  petition   as  well  as   the   additional  evidence
before us.   In our opinion, this court is not called
upon   only   to   evaluate   whether   the   exercise   of
discretion   by   the   learned   trial   court   was   right   or
wrong.”  
38
Then immediately thereafter, the Division Bench of the High
Court observes that:
“This court is duty bound to pass a suitable interim
order, pending trial of the suit.”
32. We ask a question to ourselves that, in an appeal against
the order of a Single Judge, if the Division Bench of the High
Court is not required to evaluate the question as to whether the
discretion exercised by the trial court was right or wrong, what
else is it required to do.  We are unable to trace the source of
the duty of the appellate court which makes it bound to pass a
suitable interim order pending the trial of the suit.  
33. The Division Bench of the High Court further observes
that for doing so, it has to put itself in a position as if it was
moved to pass an interim order in the suit.   At the cost of
repetition,   we  reiterate   that   if  the   approach   of   the   Division
Bench of the High Court is to be upheld, then there would be
no necessity to have the trial courts at all.   Thereafter, the
Division Bench of the High Court observes that the case was
39
different from Wander Ltd. (supra).  The Division Bench of the
High Court stops at that.  It does not even take the trouble to
observe as to how the scope of the appeal before it was different
from   the   scope   as   defined   by   this   Court   in  Wander   Ltd.
(supra).   In a line thereafter, the Division Bench of the High
Court observes that prima facie case on facts theoretically is in
favour of the appellant therein (plaintiff) and thereafter, passes
various directions including the injunction.  Though, in fact, it
allows the appeal in entirety by allowing an application under
Order  XXXIX  Rules  1  and  2  CPC  pendente   lite  the  suit,  it
graciously   observes   in   the   ultimate   para   that   it   was   only
modifying the order dated 2nd April 2019 passed by the learned
Single Judge.
34. The learned Judges of the Division Bench of the High
Court have taken pains to make a mention of the judgment of
this Court in the case of Wander Ltd. (supra).  This judgment
has   been   guiding   the   appellate   courts   in   the   country   for
decades while exercising their appellate jurisdiction considering
40
the correctness of the discretion and jurisdiction exercised by
the trial courts for grant or refusal of interlocutory injunctions.
In the said case, the learned Single Judge had refused an order
of   temporary   injunction   in   favour   of   the   plaintiff   who   was
claiming to be a registered proprietor of the registered trade
mark.  The Division Bench of the High Court had reversed the
order passed by the learned Single Judge and granted interim
injunction. Reversing the order of the Division Bench of the
High Court and maintaining the order of the learned Single
Judge, this Court observed thus:
“14. The   appeals   before   the   Division   Bench   were
against   the   exercise   of   discretion   by   the   Single
Judge. In such appeals, the appellate court will not
interfere with the exercise of discretion of the court
of first instance and substitute its own discretion
except where the discretion has been shown to have
been   exercised   arbitrarily,   or   capriciously   or
perversely   or   where   the   court   had   ignored   the
settled principles of law regulating grant or refusal
of   interlocutory   injunctions.   An   appeal   against
exercise of discretion is said to be an appeal on
principle.   Appellate   court   will   not   reassess   the
material and seek to reach a conclusion different
from the one reached by the court below if the one
reached by that court was reasonably possible on
the material. The appellate court would normally
41
not be justified in interfering with the exercise of
discretion under appeal solely on the ground that if
it had considered the matter at the trial stage it
would have come to a contrary conclusion. If the
discretion   has   been   exercised   by   the   trial   court
reasonably and in a judicial manner the fact that
the   appellate  court   would   have  taken   a  different
view   may   not   justify   interference   with   the   trial
court's exercise of discretion. After referring to these
principles   Gajendragadkar,   J.   in Printers   (Mysore)
Private  Ltd. v. Pothan  Joseph [(1960) 3 SCR 713 :
AIR 1960 SC 1156] : (SCR 721)
“... These principles are well established,
but   as   has  been   observed   by   Viscount
Simon   in Charles   Osenton   &
Co. v. Jhanaton [1942 AC 130] ‘...the law
as to the reversal by a court of appeal of
an order made by a judge below in the
exercise   of   his   discretion   is   well
established, and any difficulty that arises
is   due   only   to   the   application   of   well
settled principles in an individual case’.”
The appellate judgment does not seem to defer to
this principle.”
35. Though the learned Judges of the Division Bench of the
High Court have on more than one occasion referred to the
judgment of this Court in Wander Ltd.  (supra), they have not
even, for namesake, observed as to how the discretion exercised
by   the   learned   Single   Judge   was   exercised   arbitrarily,
42
capriciously or perversely.  In our view, having waited for 8­9
months after the learned Single Judge had passed the order, all
that ought to have been done by the learned Judges of the
Division Bench of the High Court was to request the learned
Single Judge to decide the application for ad­interim injunction,
which in fact, the learned Single Judge had scheduled to do
after three weeks from 2nd April 2019.  In our view, it was not
even necessary for the Division Bench of the High Court to have
waited till 24th December 2019 and taken the pains of deciding
the application at first instance.  It could have very well, in the
month of April, 2019 itself, done the exercise of requesting the
learned Single Judge to decide the application as scheduled.  
36. In any event, though the Division Bench of the High Court
observes that for deciding the question with regard to grant of
interim injunction, it has to put itself in a position as if it was
moved to pass an interim order in the suit, it even fails to take
into consideration the principles which a court is required to
take into consideration while deciding such an application. It is
43
a settled principle of law that while considering the question of
grant of interim injunction, the courts are required to consider
the three tests of prima facie case, balance of convenience and
irreparable   injury.   Besides   a   stray   observation   that   the
respondent­plaintiff has made out a prima facie case, there is
no discussion as to how a prima facie case was made out by the
respondent­plaintiff.     In   any   case,   insofar   as   the   tests   of
balance of convenience and irreparable injury are concerned,
there   is   not   even   a   mention   with   regard   to   these   in   the
impugned judgment and order of the Division Bench of the
High Court. In our view, the approach of the Division Bench of
the High Court was totally unwarranted and uncalled for.  We
refrain ourselves from using any stronger words.  
37. We find that it is high time that this Court should take
note   of   frivolous   appeals   being   filed   against   unappealable
orders wasting precious judicial time. As it is, the courts in
India   are   already   over­burdened   with   huge   pendency.   Such
unwarranted proceedings at the behest of the parties who can
44
afford   to   bear   the   expenses   of   such   litigations,   must   be
discouraged. We therefore find that the present appeal deserves
to be allowed with token costs.  The respondent­plaintiff shall
pay a token cost of Rs.5 lakhs to the  Supreme Court Middle
Income Group Legal Aid Society (MIG).
38. In   the   result,   the   appeal   is   allowed.     The   impugned
judgment and order dated 24th December 2019 is quashed and
set aside.  The learned Single Judge is requested to decide the
application filed by the respondent­plaintiff under Order XXXIX
Rules 1 and 2 CPC as expeditiously as possible and in any
case,   within   a   period   of   six   weeks   from   the   date   of   this
judgment.  Till further orders are passed by the learned Single
Judge, the order passed by the learned Single Judge dated 2nd
April 2019 would continue to operate.
39. We clarify that we have not touched upon the merits of the
matter   and   none   of   the   observations   either   by   the   learned
Single Judge or the Division Bench of the High Court or by us,
would in any manner weigh with the learned Single Judge while
45
deciding the application for injunction filed by the respondentplaintiff. 
40. Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of in
the above terms.
….……..….......................J.
                                                       [L. NAGESWARA RAO]
  ………….........................J.
[B.R. GAVAI]
NEW DELHI;
MARCH 14, 2022.
46

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