Counsels for the respondents, Aryama Sundaram (acting for Natco, to the best of my knowledge) and Abhishek Manu Singh (acting for Ranbaxy and Cipla) forcefully contended that the Supreme Court ought not to be entertaining the matter, since the petitioner (Novartis) should have first approached the High Court.
It bears noting that there is no statutory appeal from the IPAB to the High Court–and this would have to be by way of a writ petition. I am not entirely sure of the law on the point and will look to guidance from our readers who are litigating lawyers. For those interested in an overview of the key legal issues in this case, please see here.
The bench held that this preliminary issue (whether the court ought to entertain the matter) will be taken up on the 17th of October. If this preliminary issue is decided in favour of Novartis, the Supreme Court will begin hearing the case on merits. If not, Novartis would have to take the matter to one of the High Courts. The saga continues….