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Counterclaim Can Only Be Filed Against Plaintiff

The Karnataka High Court, in the case of M/S Alliance University vs Sri Sudhir, has noted that a counterclaim can only be filed against the plaintiff and a presenter of the suit cannot be treated as the plaintiff.

In the present case, the issue was regarding the chancellorship of Alliance University.

The Alliance University Act provided for appointment of the Chancellor ‘for life’.

However, the Chancellor was removed by the sponsoring committee and the court was faced with the legality of such a removal. The court noted that such a provision is subject to discretion and following the provision in its entirety would lead to absurd results in cases where the Chancellor has been rendered insolvent, or mentally or physically incapacitated but continues to serve as the Chancellor of the university.

Another issue raised in the appeal was whether or not the counter-claim filed against the Chancellor, who was acting on behalf of the university, valid. It was noted by the court that the university was the plaintiff and the Chancellor was merely the presenter of the suit. The court noted that the counterclaim can be filed only against the plaintiff and not the presenter of the suit. The court further noted that according to Order Rule 6A of the CPC, the counterclaim has to be filed by the defendant
against the plaintiff. The court also noted that the defendants could bring other independent cause of action by filing a counterclaim.

Justice Raghvendra Chauhan further noted that a temporary injunction can be granted only when there is a prima facie case in favour of the parties and the tests of balance of convenience and irreparable harm are satisfied. In this case, the lower court had erred in granting the injunction to the respondent since they could not establish a prima facie case in their favour.

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