The new chairman of IPAB Mr. Justice Manmohan Singh (retired) has energized its functioning soon after he assumed charge on 2nd January, 2018. Between 18th to 25th January, 2018 over 200 cases were listed in Delhi and dates for final arguments/ disposal set down. In fact, a number of cancellation/ rectification petitions where the parties had arrived at a settlement and the Respondent agreed to cancel/rectify its marks, the orders were passed at the very first hearing. In addition, the Appellate Board has streamlined service and filing of response and evidence by both parties so that there are no delays on that count.
In a recent interaction with practitioners, the Chairman of IPAB shared his plan to expedite disposal of cases and changes that he intends to bring at the IPAB. The key points shared by him were:
a. There are total 5600 cases filed before the IPAB since it was created in the year 2003, of which around 3000 have already been decided. Thus approx. 2600 cases are lying pending. The Delhi jurisdiction has the highest number of cases to be decided i.e., around 1100.
b. To clear the backlog, IPAB will take up the cases as per the priority in date of its filing.
c. The average timeline for a case to be decided from the date of filing would be around 10-12 months.
d. On asking if they are able to hear/attend several final hearing cases on the same day fixed for November/ December 2018, it was assured they are fully equipped to handle all those cases on the given date. Meanwhile, the service notices are being issued to the respondents to file their counter statements along with evidence so that pleadings are completed.
e. The Board is also considering to create a mediation forum to encourage settlement between the parties and thus ensure quick disposal of cases.
Overall much needed breath of fresh air for IP fraternity!