THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
Judgment Pronounced on: 15.12.2010 + CS(OS) No.1772/2010
GAURAV GUPTA .. Plaintiff
– versus –
NIDHI BANSAL AND ORS. ….. Defendants
Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Plaintiff: Ms.Geeta Luthra, Sr.Advocate with Mr.Jatin Sehgal, Advocate.
For the Defendants: Mr.Shiv Charan Garg, Advocate.
CORAM:-HON’BLE MR JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
1. Whether Reporters of local papers may be allowed to see the judgment?
2. To be referred to the Reporter or not?
3. Whether the judgment should be reported in Digest?
V.K. JAIN, J. (ORAL)
IA 12488/2010 (O.39 R.1 & 2 CPC)
1. This is a suit for recovery of Rs.20,01,000/- towards damages and permanent injunction.
2. The plaintiff is the husband of defendant No.1, son-in-law of defendants No.2 & 4 and brother-in-law of defendant No.3. The grievance of the plaintiff is that the defendants are visiting the office of Nestle India Ltd., in Gurgaon where he is working and are also writing defamatory letters against him to his employers. It is alleged in the plaint that defendant No.1 has been writing letters to the employer of the plaintiff, to wreck personal vendetta on him and to ensure that his services are terminated. It is further alleged that she is trying to malign the reputation of plaintiff by making calls and baseless allegations. It is also alleged that on 09.08.2010, defendants No.1 & 2 came to the office of the plaintiff and created a scene in the office, alleging that he had absconded and was not taking the calls of defendant No.1. Defendant No.1 is also alleged to have called up the junior of the plaintiff, Pankaj Batra and threatened him. The plaintiff claims to have received a call from HR department of its employer asking him to refrain defendant No.1 from involving the company in their private matters and from causing nuisance in the office so that the office environment is not spoiled. It is also alleged that on 10.08.2010, the plaintiff received a call from his office informing him that defendant No.1 was in his office with their daughter and was threatening to leave their daughter alone in the office. She also started screaming and shouting at the reception and insisted on leaving the daughter of the parties at the reception. When the other employees tried to pacify her, she started abusing the plaintiff in the filthiest language. The plaintiff has claimed damages amounting to Rs.20,01,000/- from the defendants besides injunction restraining them from coming to his office and creating any disturbance there. He has also sought injunction restraining them from corresponding with his office.
3. The defendants have contested the suit and have taken a preliminary objection that this Court has no territorial jurisdiction to try the present suit. They have also claimed that the suit is barred by Section 41(i) of Specific Relief Act. On merits, it is alleged that the plaintiff had left defendant No.1 and their two children on the pretext of going to Pant Nagar. He did not return thereafter to the Flat in which they were residing in Dwarka. On merits, it has been denied that defendant No.1 had misbehaved in the office of the plaintiff.
4. In support of his contention that Delhi Courts have no territorial jurisdiction to try this suit, the learned counsel for the defendants has relied upon the provisions contained in Section 16(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure which provides that suit for the determination of any right or interest in immovable property other than those specified in clauses (a) (b) and (c) shall be instituted in the Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the property is situated. I am unable to appreciate how Section 16(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure applies to the present suit. This is not a suit claiming any right, title or interest in an immovable property situated in Gurgaon. The grievance of the plaintiff is that he is working with Nestle India Ltd. and is posted in its office at Gurgaon, the defendants are creating nuisance in his office and are writing defamatory letters to his employers. This does not amount to claiming any right, title or interest in the property in which the office of Nestle India Ltd. is functioning in Gurgaon. Therefore, prima facie, Delhi Courts have jurisdiction to try the present suit.
5. Section 41(i) of the Specific Relief Act provides that an injunction cannot be granted when the conduct of the plaintiff or his agents has been such as to disentitle him to the assistance of the court. At this stage when the Court is deciding an application for grant of temporary injunction during pendency of the suit, it is difficult for the Court to take a view as regards inter-se conduct of the parties to the suit. This is a matter which can be decided only after trial, since there are accusations and counter-accusations by the husband and wife against each other.
6. Admittedly, defendant No.1 has filed a petition against the petition under Domestic Violence Act. A divorce petition has also been filed by the plaintiff against defendant No.1. An FIR has also been lodged by defendant No.1 against the plaintiff. There can be no objection to any of the defendants taking recourse to legal proceedings. However, the defendants have no right to create nuisance in the office where the plaintiff is working and to defame him amongst his colleagues and superiors. A perusal of the letter dated 10.08.2010 sent by defendant No.1 to Nestle India Ltd. would show that on 10.08.2010, she along with her children had gone to the office of the plaintiff and had a talk with one Mr. Sewak there. In this letter, defendant No.1 also alleged that the entire office staff was hand-in-glove with Mr.Gaurav Gupta who had left his wife and two seven month old children on street. She also conveyed her decision to stage a peaceful march/demonstration outside the office of Nestle India Ltd. at Gurgaon as well as outside its registered office at Connaught Place, New Delhi. A perusal of the letter dated 20.08.2010 written by Nestle India Ltd. to defendant No.1shows that she exhibited undesirable conduct on 10.08.2010 which disturbed the working of the office. The letter dated 07.09.2010 written by Nestle India Ltd. to the plaintiff also shows that defendant No.1 visited Nestle India Ltd. on that day and created disturbance at the reception area. It further shows that she had earlier visited the office and threatened to leave the children in the office for the plaintiff to take care of them. The plaintiff was advised by his employers to take necessary steps to ensure that his personal dispute with defendant No.1 is resolved outside the office. He was informed that it would be his responsibility to ensure that handle the matter with her, without disturbing the office working.
7. The defendants have no right to visit the office premises of Nestle India Ltd. where the plaintiff is working and disturb the peace and working environment of that office by creating scenes there and indulging in unacceptable behavior. Taking recourse to such means would not be a lawful action. The plaintiff is not the only employee of Nestle India Ltd. working in that office. The defendants have no right to interrupt the functioning of the office of Nestle India Ltd. by creating nuisance there or to hold any dharna/demonstration outside the office. If she has any grievance against the plaintiff on account of his neglecting her or her children or treating her with cruelty, she can take recourse to appropriate legal proceedings against the plaintiff but, she is not entitled to enter his office and disturb the peace and tranquility of office and defame him in the eyes of his colleagues.
8. A perusal of the letter dated 16.10.2010 written by defendant No.1 to SHO Police Station, DLF City, Phase-II, Gurgaon, with copy endorsed to Nestle India Ltd. at its Gurgaon office as well as its Connaught Circus, New Delhi Office, would show that she alleged manipulation by the defendants in the attendance sheet of the Company on certain dates on which the plaintiff is alleged to be present outside Tis Hazari Court and/or at C.A.W. Cell, Maurya Enclave, Pitampura, Delhi. A perusal of the letter dated 25.10.2010 written by Nestle India Ltd. to the plaintiff also shows that a communication was sent by defendant No.1 to various authorities making allegations regarding the products of the company on the basis of various statements attributable to the plaintiff. The plaintiff can have no grievance if the defendants levy allegations with respect to products of Nestle India Ltd. but if the allegations are based on the statements attributed to the plaintiff, it is quite obvious that the purpose is to create problem for the plaintiff with his employer by alleging that he despite being an employee of Nestle India Ltd. was levelling allegations against that company. The defendants have no legal right to tarnish the image of the plaintiff by making false accusation against him, particularly when those accusations have the potential of jeopardizing the employment of the plaintiff. If the defendants are not restrained from visiting the office of the plaintiff, it will not be possible to ensure that the defendants do not create nuisance there and do not disturb the functioning of the office.
9. For the reasons given in the preceding paragraphs, the defendants are restrained from visiting the office of Nestle India Ltd. at Gurgaon without prior permission of this Court and from writing any defamatory letters to Nestle India Ltd. against the plaintiff.
10. The application stands disposed of. (V.K. JAIN)
DECEMBER 15, 2010