The Delhi High Court imposed a cost of Rs. 50,000/- on Kashmir Harvard Educational Institute in an appeal filed against the order upholding an arbitral award directing the transfer of a domain name registered by Kashmir Harvard Educational Institute based in Srinagar to the President and Fellows of Harvard College in the United States of America.

The Division Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Tara Vitasta Ganju observed, “In view of the above, the appeal is unmerited. It may also be noted that the impugned award has been rendered in an international commercial arbitration as the complainant is not an Indian national nor an association nor a body which is incorporated in this country and therefore, the ground of patent illegality under Section 34(2A) of the A&C Act is not available to the appellant. However, even if the same was available, we are unable to accept that the impugned award is vitiated on the ground of patent illegality…The appeal is unmerited and the same is dismissed with costs quantified at ₹ 50,000/-.”

Advocate Keshav Thakur appeared for the Appellant whereas Advocate RK Aggarwal appeared for the Respondent.

Kashmir Harvard Educational Institute filed the appeal under Section 37(1)(c) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 challenging a judgment passed by the Single Judge in an appeal under Section 34 impugning arbitral award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal comprising of a sole arbitrator under the ‘.IN Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy’ (INDRP) adopted by the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI).

President and Fellows of Harvard College, Respondents herein, filed a complaint objecting to the Appellant’s use of the domain name. It was alleged that the Appellant adopted the domain name in bad faith.

The Court examined whether the complaint was maintainable under the INDRP, as according to the Appellant, Harvard College did not hold any registration of the domain name ‘.in’ or ‘.bharat’.

The Court said, “It is clear from the above that the term ‘Complainant’ refers to a person who initiates the complaint against the Registrant. In the present case, the appellant was a Registrant of the ‘.IN Registry’, therefore, the complaint registered in respect of the impugned domain name could be instituted under the INDRP. There is no provision under the INDRP that requires a complainant to necessarily hold a domain name the ‘.IN’ or ‘.Bharat’ Registry for instituting a complaint. The complaint can be instituted against the Registrant by any person…The suggestion that the complainant must necessarily be a Registrant is misconceived and misconstrues the definition of the term Registrant.”

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the appeal.

Cause Title: Kashmir Harvard Educational Institute V. President and Fellows of Harvard College (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:3120-DB)


Appellant: Advocates Keshav Thakur, Palak Mathur, Ritik Kumar and Prithvi Thakur.

Respondent: Advocates RK Aggarwal, Ayushi Bansal and Vinay Padam.

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