Verdict corner: A self-employed person cannot be called unskilled

Dec 19 2013, 01:42 IST
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SummarySC has said that imposing geographical restrictions on the sale of goods with disputed trademark would be unjust...

Geographical curbs on sale unjust

In a matter related to trademark ‘Kohinoor’, the Supreme Court has said that imposing geographical restrictions on the sale of goods with disputed trademark would be unjust and would lead to “complications and litigations”. While upholding the Delhi High Court’s judgment that allowed Sant Ram & Co to sell rice under the trademark in the entire state of Uttar Pradesh, the apex court said that restricting the trademark to a few cities would create a lot of complications and litigation as to the exact boundary of a particular or district. It would also be impossible for rival Sant Ram to ensure that its products are not sold to retailers outside the six cities as directed by the Assistant Registrar of Trademarks in 1993, it added.

In this case, Satnam Overseas vs Sant Ram & Co & Anr, the former had moved the Registrar for rectification of entry in respect of trademark ‘Kohinoor’ rice, which was registered in the latter’s name, on the ground of non-usage for a period in excess of five years. The Registrar had allowed the product to be sold only in six cities of UP. Sant Ram & Co then moved the HC against the rectification orders that restricted the use of trademark only in few cities. The HC permitted it to sell rice under the trademark for the entire state. Satnam Overseas then moved the Supreme Court, which dismissed its appeal, saying that putting geographical restrictions was rightly held to be unjust by the HC.

On the self-employed persons

Finding faults with the decision of the courts below, the Supreme Court in the case Pushkar Mehra vs Brij Mohan Kushwaha ruled that a self-employed person cannot be called unskilled, thus compensation for his death in a road accident cannot be calculated as per the minimum wage laws. In this case, a widow along with the family of a 54-year-old trader, who was killed in a road accident, had moved the motor accident tribunal claiming compensation of R25 lakh. The tribunal had awarded R3.84 lakh after observing there was rash and negligent driving. It computed the deceased income at R2,895 per month as per the wages for unskilled labour under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. On appeal, the Delhi High Court stated that the compensation was more than adequate.

But the apex court said that the tribunal and the HC should have taken the wages of

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