Rapporteurs Reports

National Moot Court Competition 2022 by IFIM Law School

February 25, 2022

Courtroom 1

    Judges

    • Prof. Nishanth Sheokand
    • Prof. Ananyo Mitra

Rapporteurs

  • Ms. Medha Vinod
  • Mr. Indhra

Counsels: IFIM880222 (Appellant) v IFIM910222 (Respondent)

Timekeeper – Ms. Prathibha Jha

The judges will be referred to as ‘Judge 1’ and ‘Judge 2’ in this report.
The consent to voice record the sessions has been obtained from both the parties.

Round 1

Appellant 88
Speaker 1 she/her
Time 5:00 PM

The session has started with a two-judge bench presiding over the court. The counsel on behalf of the appellant has approached the podium and the counsel has asked permission to brief the judges about the facts of the case. While stating the facts to the judges, the counsel is stressing on the point that only crypto transactions are made in the smart contract. The counsel also states that it is ABC Company’s major advantage as they constantly advertise it. The counsel stated they would briefly state the facts of the case, but it has been over 5 minutes and the facts have not been concluded yet. The judges seem to be patiently waiting for the counsel to be done with the statement of facts. The judge has requested the counsel to move on to the first issue. Under issue 1, which is whether the contract between Mr. Padman and ABC company is valid, the counsel points out the three essential elements under Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act.

Them being -

  • Offer
  • Acceptance
  • Lawful consideration

The counsel explains how the contract was made by meeting the above-mentioned requirements.

The counsel is stating that major countries such as the UK, Germany, Singapore and so on accept cryptocurrency as a valid form of transaction. Judge 1 has raised a concern that the legality of cryptocurrency in other countries does not mean that it is the same in Oxyonia. To this, the counsel replies that it was only mentioned to have a persuasion effect on the court. Judge 1 once again raises the question of whether crypto should be considered valid.

The counsel seeks the court to pass rules and regulations in regard to cryptocurrency. The judge answered this by asking the counsel if the court has the power to do so. Anything passed by the Supreme Court of Oxyonia will become the law of the land says the counsel.

Judges have requested the counsel to move on to the next issue.

The second issue is a question on whether there was an unfair trade practice by ABC. The counsel is arguing that there was an undue influence by ABC as they were in a dominant position and immediately the judges question the point of undue influence. The counsel explains how ABC mislead Mr. Padman by advertising lavishly on their website which acts as an undue influence. The counsel emphasises the attribute that the QR code was in the middle of the website taking up a lot of space, but the terms and conditions were out of the view.

The counsel is now contending that this is not a one in million case, but numerous consumers were misled by ABC company as multiple complaints were raised. With this, the counsel has concluded their arguments and has passed on the arguments to the co-counsel on behalf of the appellant.

Speaker 2 - him/his

The counsel seeks permission to move on to the 3rd and 4th issues. The co counsel's strong voice is filling up the entire room which has caught everyone's attention. We see smiles on the respondent team’s faces as if to disagree with what is being stated by the counsel. The judge has interrupted the speaker and asks what the submission before the court is.

The counsel clearly mentions what the submissions before the court are. The judge seems satisfied, and the counsel moves on to the arguments.

The counsel has started their arguments by remarking that natural disasters cannot fall under clause 130 as it is out of everyone’s control. The counsel further argues that clause 130 is not correctly interpreted. The counsel carries on to the next issue which is whether ABC is liable to pay Mr. Padman. The counsel says that ABC is liable to pay the amount of 2 lakhs to Mr. Padman for the mental trauma that he went through due to the drastic hit on his reputation. The counsel has gone from asking for 2 lakhs compensation to 10 lakhs now and the judges look quite confused. The counsel pauses as if to give judges the space to ask questions but since there were no questions, the counsel moves on to the prayer. Just after the prayer is done, the judge now raises a concern about the computation of the compensation. The co-counsel seeks permission to answer the question which is raised by the judges. The judge refuses and explains that the question was to the 2nd speaker. The second speaker pleads ignorance and takes his seat.

Respondent - 91
Speaker 1 - she/her

We now see the counsel on behalf of the respondents profusely taking notes. The counsel seeks permission to approach the dais and further seeks permission to collecting address the bench as ‘your lordships’. The counsel now seeks permission to briefly state the facts. The judge gives permission provided that the facts should be stated very briefly. While briefing the facts, judge 1 asks the counsel the meaning of the Ricardian contract to which the counsel answers. The counsel notes that based on the fact sheet, the information about the Ricardian contract is silent. The counsel has briefly stated the facts in 1 minute excluding the time taken by the questions raised by the judges. The counsel has now continued to make the first submission.

The counsel talks about the essentials for the agreement -

  • Offer
  • Acceptance
  • Lawful consideration

The counsel states that the present contract which was made does meet the requirement of the essential ingredients. The judge asks a query about which of the three ingredients the counsel is challenging. The counsel responds to the question by stating that they will take that up in the upcoming submissions. The counsel is not arguing that the transaction of cryptocurrency is not valid. The judge calls into question that ABC generally does take crypto transactions and impugns on what basis are they arguing that it is unlawful in the courtroom.

The counsel talks about the latest cryptocurrency bill. The judge interrupts stating that it is not relevant in the present case that is being dealt with here. The counsel has moved on with the arguments about blockchain technologies. They contend that the contract was made through electronic means and without e-signature, it cannot be considered as a valid contract. After making this submission and while moving on to the next argument, the judge interrupts the counsel. The judge informs the counsel that they are referring to multiple legislations and case laws and sections but are not coming to the point of the ingredients of essential contract which was raised at the start of the session. The judge once again asks about the ingredients.

The counsel states that the essential ingredient that is missing is that of lawful agreement. There is now a conversation happening between the judges and the counsel where the judge is explaining to the counsel about the possibility of a criminal liability being imposed on them as they dealt with unlawful agreements. There are multiple questions being thrown at the counsel all at once. The counsel seems to be confused and is unsure of where to begin. The counsel stands startled by the questions.

Judges announce that time is up. The counsel voice once energetic now seems low with no confidence. They quickly conclude and pass on the arguments to the co-counsel.

Speaker 2 - she/her

The co-counsel has approached the dais with the permission of the judges. The counsel immediately dives into the arguments they want to contest without wasting any time. Judge 1 has immediately brought into question why the website is not user friendly. Furthermore, the judge questions the placing of the QR code in a very convenient manner and left the terms and conditions away from the consumer's view and is hidden away. The counsel states that the terms and conditions were not “technically” hidden.

Judge is once again raising a question about the unfair trade practices of the company.

The counsel shifts blame to the consumer by expressing that it is the consumer's duty to read the terms and conditions and if there is a case where the terms and conditions are not accessible, then it is their responsibility to reach out to the company.

The counsel talks briefly about clause 130 and about the strike and advances to prayer.

Rebuttals of Appellant -

Appellant has put forth the following points as their primary rebuttal.

  • The strike happened due to the Covid-19 crisis, but it was in no relation to the case here, the impact of the pandemic was felt around the globe, and it was not exclusive.
  • The strike happened because of force measures. Rainfall cannot fall under force measure regarding clause 130.
  • There was no misleading of goods.

Respondent Sur Rebuttal -

The counsel disagrees with the points put forth by the opposition and declares that they are not in control of what happens in the strike. They also go on to explain that there was no intention to mislead to which judge 2 explains that they are in fact misleading because they had initially expressed that it is a valid contract but now is contending that it is an invalid contract.

The co-counsel now has approached the dais to put forth certain queries to the opposition party with the judge's hesitant permission. The counsel continues with the question and now we see the counsel of the appellant party raising to answer the question that has been posed. Judges now put their foot down stating that there is a system that should be followed and denying permission for any more contentions.

The counsels have quietly taken their seats. The session has come to an end at 6:05 PM.

National Moot Court Competition 2022 by IFIM Law School

February 25, 2022

Courtroom 2

Judges

  • Prof. Suhail Rashid Bhat
  • Ms. Muskaan Dargar

Rapporteurs

  • Ms. Nazneen Bashir
  • Ms. Yusra Raouf

Counsels: IFIM960222 (Appellant) v IFIM890222 (Respondent)

Timekeeper – Mr. Arvind Roshan

The judges will be referred to as ‘Judge 1’ and ‘Judge 2’ in this report.
The consent to voice record the sessions has been obtained from both the parties.

Preliminary Round 1

Appellant IFIM900222 (Appellant)
Court Room 2
Session 1
Team 96 v Team 89
Time: 4:57

The round begins with the court clerk informing the commencement of the session. The proceedings are being recorded with the permission of both the bench and the counsels. Counsel number 1 starts with the opening statement on behalf of ABC Company Limited. The counsel begins their arguments after confirming if the judges are aware of the facts. The counsel mentions all the issues that are contentious in this court today based on an insurance agreement entered between Padman and ABC Company via a smart contract.

The Counsel pleads to argue issues 2 and 3. However, the Judge interrupts and requests to hear issue 1 first as the bench feels that it holds more importance. Despite this, the Counsel seeks permission to continue with the second issue with justification. Just then, Judge 1 raises a question of jurisdiction.

The Counsel begins arguing on whether there was unfair trade practice carried out by ABC concerning the transactions between ABC and Padman. The counsel cites a plethora of precedents to prove that there was indeed an unfair trade practice. The counsel also tries convincing the court by raising a point about equity and carefully leading it up to the conclusion that the terms were unfair and unequal.

After listening to most of the arguments of the first issue patiently, Judge 2 points out that Padman did have more time to go through all the terms and conditions. The counsel tries to convince the court by bringing up the fact that the hyperlink containing the rest of the clauses was not noticeable on the website. In order to amplify this, the counsel uses the terms “alluring” and “inducing” the consumer into the contract in hope that they can draw the court’s attention and convince the bench. However, the Judge is still not satisfied. She asks, “Can you save yourselves by saying that ‘I was ignorant of or did not notice a law that exists?’” The counsel still does not give up and responds this time highlighting yet again the choice of the consumer and the unequal bargaining power.

The counsel further tries to point out to the court that the length of the contract and the fact that an extremely important clause being placed at the very end of the same was wrong on the part of ABC. Judge 2 asks a basic question as to whether the length of the contract is of any relevance here.

The counsel brings up the legalities especially, Section 2 Clause 47. The counsel tries reiterating misleading information given by ABC. The bench does not agree by saying that no factually incorrect or misleading statements were made. However, the counsel rightly helps the court in identifying that it is a “misleading representation” which actually has occurred.

The judge talks about “fine print” in the contract. The counsel begins to respond but the judge calms the counsel by clarifying that it was not a question to be sought but rather something said in favour of the counsel. The counsel breaks into a sigh with a half-relieved, half-nervous smile.

The counsel then moves on to Issue 4 whether the smart contract has correctly implemented Article 130. The counsel is trying to establish that the delay is not caused due to a third party because the strike was out of their control. The bench starts firing questions yet again and asks if the High Court judgement cited is binding on the court and further questions if it should be overturned. The Counsel is slightly side-tracked by this but quickly regains focus and responds.

After counsel 1’s arguments are over and the judges do not have any further questions, Counsel 2 proceeds confidently. Counsel 2 also sums up the issues that are going to be addressed.

Then they proceed with their first issue and it is, whether there is a valid contract between ABC Company Limited and Padman. The counsel tries to establish that there is a valid contract and consideration. However, the bench keeps the matter of contention towards the counsel, and questions if ‘Bitcoin’ is a valid currency identified by Oxyonia, to begin with. The counsel has a very creative response to this, they say that they have approached the court through a Special Leave Petition. Therefore, a substantial question of law must be proved. The counsel further provides that one of the substantive questions of law that they will try proving in this court is whether Bitcoin can be considered legally recognized consideration in Oxyonia.

The court asks if they have the power to decide on the aforesaid matter, the counsel seems pretty clear about the response and reinforces that the court has the power to advise the ministry. The judge uses this and picks up on the word “advise”. This one word has made all the difference. The bench is now firing probes at the Counsel. The counsel is slightly flustered but quickly points out another precedent and tries to seek the aid of provisions (Article 132 and 131) to help back their response up. The bench accepts the response but reminds the counsel that their “choice of words” was indeed incorrect and the court does not merely have an “Advisory Jurisdiction”. To this Counsel begs for a descending opinion.

Not very much after this contention, the counsel moves on to argue another contention. The bench picks up an incorrectly used phrase again and this time from a provision. The Judge asks the counsel to read Article 156 of the constitution aloud. The counsel does not lose confidence through any of this and proceeds to read the article to the court. The court using this asked the counsel to point out the phrase “gross injustice” in the provision. The counsel accepts their mistake (but not defeat) and moves on to the next argument.

The Judge asks a very basic question. ‘What is a smart contract?’ The Counsel easily answers the questions. The Counsel further brings on light on the “clip wrap contract”. The counsel rely on a case but before they can proceed the judge asks the counsel if they can furnish the court with a document. This intervention occurred as the document is missing from the memorial which the counsel realizes was a grave mistake and seeks apologies.

Just when the counsel proceeds that the agreement can be submitted as evidence to the court. The judge points out whether this court is a court of evidence. The judge further proceeds to suggest wrapping up the session as the time is running out. The counsel moves on to the next issue but then the judge interrupts and requests them to sum it up in 30 seconds. The court is very much in a rush now.

The Counsel, however, calmly begins to contest that Padman should be compensated for the issues and further compensated monetarily for the mental trauma he has suffered. The Judge questions if the process of seeking justice can be treated as trauma? The counsel convinces the court that it can before the time runs out. The counsel then seeks permission to proceed with the prayer.

To which all the counsels rise. Just when the counsel released a sigh of relief, the judge questions counsel on prayer as well. Counsel contests the substantial questions of law.

The counsel of the Appellants proceeds. The counsel first proceeds with the first issue but the Judge interrupts just as the counsel begins. The judge questions counsel why they have approached the court under Article 136 and the counsel responds. However, the court seems unconvinced with the response but the counsel swiftly manages to move on and shift the court’s attention to the coming argument.

The counsel contests that an instant smart contract is not a valid form of contract. The judge questions whether the ad of the company is misleading and subsequently about the insurance agreement validity stating that it is not a valid contract. The counsel confidently responds that the word “smart contract” is clearly used and they are contesting that it is not a valid contract. Also, the counsel states the provisions in which smart contracts are not included as valid contracts. The judge requests counsel to read a provision from the Contract Act and asks if smart contracts do not align with the provision. The counsel contests that it does not and begins to demonstrate the same upon the request of the court. The counsel again states that smart contracts are not legally recognized in the country. Judge repeats pointing out the same possible misinterpretation and scam in the advertisement.

The court clerk raises a time warning. The judge now raises a very thought-provoking question and asks that for every contract there is merely one contract law in the country then why are the smart contracts excluded from that ambit of it. The counsel seeks the aid of precedents to make the point stating that there are no cases providing that the smart contracts are not a valid form of contracts. The counsel further lists several reasons on its validity that firstly, there is no meeting of minds; secondly, it is not a contract but merely an agreement (the bench to this yet again probes on why then they tried convincing citizens to get into such a contract then?). Lastly, consideration is explained by the counsel seeking the aid of the interdisciplinary committee. (The Judge points out that the report was overturned) there the term is a ‘to and fro’. Counsel states that according to the facts it is still pending. Judge says circular is not quashed. (The judge says that it can be corrected later). The bench sounds convinced.

Next, The Judge proceeds to questions the validity and legality of the cryptocurrency itself which the company uses. The bench realizes that they have taken up too much time on the first issue itself and apologises. Then, the counsel moves to the second issue.

The counsel contests whether there was any unfair trade practice carried out by ABC with respect to the transactions between ABC and Padman and claims that an unfair trade practice is wide and further reminds the court that an unfair trade practice must cause loss/ injury. The counsel eloquently states the three conditions test and go orderly in describing the test. Firstly, Misleading and secondly, Consumers' interpretation of misleading should be reasonable and lastly, Misinterpretation should be material. Counsel proceeds with the third issue. There is a shortage of time. Counsel completes this issue without any question from the judges. The first counsel retires.

The co-counsel approaches the bench with a pleasant smile and the fourth issue is argued. The counsel argued that clause 130 is correctly interpreted but the Bench points out that the counsel previously argued on the fact that it cannot be considered as a valid contract. The first counsel slyly passes a note in communication. The counsel brushes this question replying in arguendo. The judge questions which court heard the case just cited by the counsel. The counsel does not seem to have an answer. The other counsel passes notes in communication, but the counsel again dodges the question without a serious attempt to answer it.

The counsel expands on what Force Majeure is but the judge questions the clash written in the memorial and the terms contested. The other counsel tries to argue that strike is a physical restraint. Judge explains the interpretation of the Force Majeure. The judges put forth more questions on the table but the counsel is unable to follow them. The counsel finishes stating authorities by reinforcing that the ABC Company have correctly interpreted Article 130. Bench does not have any further questions. Counsel proceeds with the 5th issue. Counsel cites a case but the bench interrupts and asks the counsel to move with the prayer but the counsel seeks permission to substantiate on one last important case. The judge much to the counsel’s dismay says that they will not dismiss any of the prayers but will dismiss the SLP. To this, the counsel agrees.

The rebuttals of the plaintiff start and contest that there was no concealment but only carelessness on part of the consumer. The judge again points out the argument going against the contract being invalid (consideration). The counsel argues that it would be applied if the agreement was a valid contract. The appellant raises another objection. The judge shuts it down saying that there cannot be a rebuttal to the surrebuttal. The session ends leaving the counsels curious about the result.

National Moot Court Competition 2022 by IFIM Law School

February 25, 2022

Courtroom 3

Judges

  • Prof. Harsh Vardhan
  • Prof. Deepu Krishna

Rapporteurs

  • Ms. Sanjana Ravichandra
  • Ms. Nikhita.S

Counsels: IFIM900222 (Appellant) v IFIM810222 (Respondent)

Timekeeper – Ms. Mettu Haritha

The judges will be referred to as ‘Judge 1’ and ‘Judge 2’ in this report.
The consent to voice record the sessions has been obtained from both the parties.

Preliminary Round 1

Appellant IFIM900222 (Appellant)
Speaker 1

The Counsel for the Appellant approached the Dias seeking permission to plea on behalf of the Appellant. The judges asked the counsel to refer unfavorable points for the appellant. The appellant counsel states that Padman had willingly entered the contract and agreed to the terms and conditions. The appellant has asked for mental trauma, which is irrelevant, and the last point is that the word ‘strike’ is mentioned in the clause 130.

The judge asks whether there is a contract between Padman and ABC Ltd. The counsel answers there is a contract as smart contracts are legally valid. The judges direct the appellant counsel to read the 16th paragraph of the proposition which mentions “What does the appellant mean by consideration and the counsel answers that the block chain is the consideration factor?” The judges asked whether Ether is a cryptocurrency. To which the appellant states it is a cryptocurrency and the judges further put forth that whether India has a regulation to govern cryptocurrency. The counsel cites an international authority that states that Ether is a cryptocurrency and has a legal validity. The judges asked should the court use international authority and whether the court has the power to refer to international authority. The counsel answers that since India does not have any regulation or precedents for cryptocurrency, it sometimes is necessary to use international authority. The counsel supported their point by referring to the Supreme Court direction that RBI can regulate cryptocurrency.

The counsel then proceeds with the first issue. The appellant is differentiated with the traditional contracts and electronic contracts. The counsel stated that legal status or duality of contract cannot be held back just because it has electronic data and not manual data. The judges asked the counsel to refer to the IT Act provision which talks about electronic evidence. The counsel answers that the block chain is in an electronic format and a valid contract. The counsel refers to the section 38 of the IT Act and that a digital signature is required for a smart contract to be considered as a valid contract. The judges asked whether the IT act applies to this case.

The counsel states that IT act is applicable in the current case. The counsel is asked to move on to the second issue which talks about the unfair trade practices. The counsel believes that Misstara Airlines have practiced unfair trade practices. The counsel claims that it is not only Padman but also several other people who complained about the unfair trade practices of ABC Ltd. Due to the time constraint, counsel 1 had to conclude and the dais is left open for the co-counsel to present their case. The co-counsel starts with stating that the counsel will be discussing issues 3 and 4.

Issue 3 deals with whether the smart contract is interpreted correctly with clause 130. The counsel states that clause 130 is ambiguous in nature and the judges asked which part of Clause 130 is unclear. The counsel states that the use of the word “et cetera.” is unclear. The judges asked what the reason for the delay of the flight is. The word ‘strike’ is mentioned in the clause 130 and the judges ask how it is ambiguous then. The counsel talks about foreseeable and unforeseeable strikes. The counsel states the strikes were foreseeable. The judges ask whether the flight is delayed because of the airlines or not. The counsel proceeds that the clause 130 is in digital form and is hard to interpret than in manual form. The judges asked whether Padman is a literate person and if he is a prudent reasonable man. The counsel states that it is impossible for a prudent person to look into the terms and conditions and the judges directed the counsel to refer to a precedent to back up the stated point. The judges further stated that it is Padman’s responsibility to look into the terms and conditions. The counsel maintains his stand and states that it is impossible for a person to read a 150-page pdf. The judges further asked the counsel about the insurance policy that Padman has took. The counsel proceeds with the prayer.

The judge asks a final question about the compensation money of 10 lakhs and the calculation behind the compensation. The counsel stresses on the fact that Padman’s reputation has been damaged and the breach of the contract. Also, how mental trauma and damage of reputation is interrelated. The judges asked why the counsel has not asked more than 1 Ether or 5 Ethers. The counsel finishes by stating that 1 Ether for breach of contract and 10 lakh for mental trauma.

RESPONDENT:

The respondent in the opening submission stated that the case is between ABC vs Padman that confused the whole room! The Judges directed the counsel to submit 3 points that are against ABC Ltd. The counsel submitted that there are no such strong points that are against the company, the judge’s pointed out that use of block chain contract is a point against the company. The counsel states that ABC ltd is a service provider and Block Chain makes things easy for them. The judges asked, Is it not important for a prominent clause to be in the initial pages and not page 127? The counsel stated that ABC is providing a service and the counsel is interrupted to refer to the point no 7 which talks about the slogan of ABC Company. The judges stress on the fact that the ABC limited is liable to pay compensation if a flight is delayed. The council agrees to the judges but the counsel deliberates that liability relies on the terms and conditions of each companies. The judges state that it is unreasonable and refers to point no 17 of the moot proposition. The counsel denies the fact that ABC is a fraudulent company, and they cannot be held liable if certain things are not under the control of the company itself.

The judges asked the counsel to submit the contentions of the counsel. The counsel stated that ABC does not have any malafied intentions nor wants to pay such hefty amount. The judges asked, whether the insurance policy comes under the ambit of IRDIA? The counsel states that the insurance policy comes under the ambit of IRDIA, which regulates insurance policies of India. The Judges granted extra 30 seconds to the counsel. The judges asked whether all the regulation is binding to the case, the counsel states is not well aware of the same. The judges directed the counsel to refer to the page no 9 of the moot proposition.

The counsel moves on to the next issue. The counsel is talking about the contradictions present in the case. The counsel states that smart contracts would not be considered as a valid contract. The judges stated that ABC uses smart contracts but implying smart contracts are not invalid is making no sense. The counsel asks 30 seconds to clarify the same. The counsel stated that smart contracts are alienated in the country. The judges state that there is a contradiction between what the counsel is pleading. The judges further inquired whether ABC Company is setting up a trap and asks the counsel to clarify on the same. The counsel suggests that the contract is invalid in the sense that the terms between Padman and ABC limited. The counsel states that it is because of the negligence of the appellant the issue has arisen.

The Judges seek clarity from the counsel co-counsel is being asked a question, which are relevant to the facts. The judges asks why are the counsel pleading that cryptocurrency is invalid. The counsel states that the counsel defers from the intentions of their co-counsel. The judges asks whether or not the counsels wants to change the prayer. The counsel states they wish to answer the question while dealing with issue 4. The counsel claims that clause 130 is not ambiguous and talks about how contracts work with advertisements. The counsel states the strike was unforeseeable as Mistara airlines promised there would not be any further strikes. The counsel is asked to read a point from the proposition. The judges asks about the oracle mentioned in the proposition and that the ABC ltd works with oracle. The judges’ states that the oracle has done a mistake and the counsel states that there has been no mistake on the part of oracle on the virtue of being a server and the mistake lies on the Mistara airlines.

The judge summarized the counsels’ arguments and asks why the defendant is refusing to pay the appellants. The counsel submits that the compensation is only applicable when it is highly unreasonable. The judges asks about civil aviation and cryptocurrency and the counsel states that civil aviation has no ties with cryptocurrency. The judges asks the counsel to conclude the arguments. The counsel states that the contract is invalid and the mistake completely falls on Mistara airlines and it is because of the mismanagement of the said airlines the issues has occurred and proceeds with the prayer. The counsel wants to defer with the prayer mentioned in the memorial submitted by the respondents.

REBUTTALS

The counsel approaches the bench and proceeds. The counsel refers to point no 7 and 13 of the proposition which talks about regulation of cryptocurrency. The counsel submits that the respondent’s case lies on the cryptocurrency and Ricardian contract. The counsel from the respondents states that this particular nation does not use cryptocurrency for its transactions and there are no regulations regarding the same.

After hearing both the parties, the session ended with the judges giving feedback to them.

National Moot Court Competition 2022 by IFIM Law School

February 25, 2022

Courtroom 4

Judges

  • Prof. Apoorvi Srivastav
  • Ms. Gowshni Gowthaman

Rapporteurs

  • Ms. Jaya Sowgandhee Nainala
  • Ms. Sakshi Goel

Counsels: IFIM790222 (Appellant) v IFIM930222 (Respondent)

Timekeeper – Ms. Ankita

The judges will be referred to as ‘Judge 1’ and ‘Judge 2’ in this report.
The consent to voice record the sessions has been obtained from both the parties.

Round 1

Appellant …79…. (Appellant)
Speaker 1

The session started with the introduction of the counsel for appellant on behalf of Padman. With the permission of the judges, the counsel started summarizing the facts. After summarizing the facts, the counsel started with her first issue. Issue one states whether or not a smart contract is a valid form of contract.

The counsel stated that Smart Contracts are a valid form of contract under Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act. The confirmation for the Smart Contract was sent as an email and text message and the acceptance was given by the ABC company. With this, a smart contract is admissible in the court as valid evidence. Section 2(a) was mentioned by the counsel in her arguments. Therefore, the judges referred to it and said that it states the signatures are authenticated.

The Judge asks the counsel how Smart Contracts are valid when they are not authenticated under any authorities. The counsel said that her co-counsel would deal with this question and started her arguments again.

Under section 65(b) of the Indian Evidence Act, the counsel stated that electronic evidence is admissible in the court. She also mentioned two cases. The counsel started with the second issue: Is the exchange of cryptocurrency valid? The counsel then explained that payment through cryptocurrency is a valid and lawful form of consideration under section 2(d) of the Contract Act. While explaining one of the cases in context, the counsel said that cryptocurrency should not be banned. The judge interrupted the counsel and said the court never says it can be used for any commercial purposes as a part of the consideration.

Addressing the second issue of her argument, the counsel states the unfair trade practices between ABC company and Padman. With only five minutes remaining for her arguments, the counsel stated that the ABC company has falsely interpreted the terms and conditions in the extreme pages of their notice. The judge then interrupted and asked that the ABC Company did not mention the structure of the contract anywhere in the constitution. The counsel answered that the ABC company have provided terms and conditions on the last page and the confirm button is at the center. A reasonable man can never think that the confirm button is at the center. This was with regards to a lot of advertisements that were present on the website, the counsel stated.

The judge asks a final question about the compensation money of 10 lakhs and the calculation behind the compensation. The counsel stresses on the fact that Padman’s reputation has been damaged and the breach of the contract. Also, how mental trauma and damage of reputation is interrelated. The judges asked why the counsel has not asked more than 1 Ether or 5 Ethers. The counsel finishes by stating that 1 Ether for breach of contract and 10 lakh for mental trauma.

Two minutes are left. It was written that the previous insurance takers have faced many problems. The company will give them money in the rarest of the rare cases, the counsel said. The counsel proceeded with her arguments. She said the notice was one hundred fifty pages long and on the one hundred twenty-seventh page, clause 130 is written. No reasonable man would be able to recognize such a clause. Thirty seconds left. There were unfair trade practices done by ABC company. Submissions close.

The co-counsel approaches the dais to begin her arguments. Before starting the arguments, the judges ask the counsel to answer the previous questions which were left by speaker 1, or else, she can start with the third issue.

The unanswered questions were:

  • When was the consent established?
  • Were the digital signatures present if yes, were they valid?

The co-counsel wanted to explain the third issue, that is, whether the contract was unfair. The counsel stated that it was an Adhesion Contract and there were no rules for negotiation. There is an unfair advantage over another party. The terms and conditions were on the third page which is the payment page. Two-thirds of the agreement contains advertisements. The judge interrupted and asked, “Because it is a standard contract, are you saying it is unfair?” The counsel explained the question with an example. A checkbox is present in every social media app and mentions “I agree” which means the terms and conditions have been accepted. But in this case “Browse” is given. The counsel moves on with the furth issue. Clause 130 is mentioned on Force Majeure. Section 56 of The Contract Act 1872 has one of the major components where the cause must be inevitable. ABC company was well versed with Misstara Airlines. Two strikes had already happened in Misstara airlines. It is in debt of $500 million. That was the cause of the employee strike. Force Majeure does not cover strike, the counsel stated.

Counsel started dealing with her fifth issue which states that ABC is liable to pay the damages for the mental trauma. The judge then questioned if ABC’s signatures are valid and how was Padman’s signature valid. The counsel explains that when the person clicks, “I agree” it means giving consent. It acts as a signature. Three minutes are left. Similarly, Cryptocurrency is not accepted as a currency as per Section 2(d) in Indian Contract Law as a consideration in any form. The ABC Company did not pay the insurance. Thirty seconds left. As of the previous issue stated, ABC Company is liable and has to give money for damages, the counsel stated. The submissions are closed. Time is up. Prayer was pronounced by the counsel.

The counsel for the respondent introduced herself. She starts with the first issue stating that the Smart Contract will be valid and enforceable. Free consent is not given under Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act. The advertisement which was posted is not an invitation or proposal. Judge asks if cryptocurrency is not a legal currency, then why did the client use this to make an advertisement. Also, if the client accepted the confirmation of the payment. This was dealt in the next issue. Continuing the arguments Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act states only about the essentials of the contract, the counsel said. Five minutes are left.

Counsel continued her arguments. The next issue is unfair trade practices by Padman and misrepresentation of fraud. Two minutes are left. Appellants are not claiming fraud, they were claiming for the misinterpretation of ABC, said the judge. Time is up. The speaker was granted two more minutes for her arguments. Section 22 of travel insurance policy clause 4 says that Misstara Airlines had already published that there is a strike going on their website. The judge asked, Are the airlines aware of the strike? The counsel replied that from the past two days the strike was going on. It cannot be added under clause 130. The counsel concluded with her arguments. All submissions were done.

Co-council started her arguments with the fourth issue which is whether the smart contract has been correctly interpreted in Clause 130. The judge questioned since the counsel dealt with speaker 1 and respondent dealt with clause 130 if there was a need to remake the same arguments. Speaker 2 acknowledges this inquiry and chooses not to repeat the arguments. Section 22 clause 4 of the Travel Insurance Policy has stated that if the strike has been done after the travel started, then they will grant damages. Ten minutes are left. The fifth issue was whether ABC will be liable to pay damages. On the website, it was given that additional damages will not be awarded. The respondent will not be liable because the appellant may suffer from the company’s termination. The insurance will not be paid if a strike or any natural issues occur. The submissions were closed. Prayer was commenced by the counsel.

Rebuttals start. The counsel for appellant states that counsel for respondent questioned jurisdiction. The judge interrupted the counsel and said that this issue will not be taken into consideration. The counsel moved to the next issue that is Section 17 of the Indian Contract Act. The co-counsel added on that the client has suffered from mental trauma because there is inefficiency in the services of ABC company. There were no more rebuttals from the counsel of respondents. The session ends.

25 years of leadership development

The journey of IFIM Institutions