“The expression ‘as far as possible’ was relied upon by this Court in Paragraph 34 of its decision in High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan v. Veena Verma, (2009) 14 SCC 734. It would also be instructive to refer to a decision of this Court in State of M.P. v. Narmada Bachao Andolan, (2011) 7 SCC 639 where the expression ‘as far as possible’ was explained.”
– Hon’ble Justice U.U. Lalit, Dinesh Kumar Gupta v. High Court of Judicature of Rajasthan, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 936 of 2018].
“The aforesaid phrase provides for flexibility, clothing the authority concerned with powers to meet special situations where the normal process of resolution cannot flow smoothly. The aforesaid phrase can be interpreted as not being prohibitory in nature. The said words rather connote a discretion vested in the prescribed authority. It is thus discretion and not compulsion. There is no hard-and-fast rule in this regard as these words give a discretion to the authority concerned. Once the authority exercises its discretion, Court should not interfere with the said discretion/decision unless it is found to be palpably arbitrary [Iridium India Telecom Ltd. v. Motorola Inc., (2005) 2 SCC 145 and High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan v. Veena Verma, (2009) 14 SCC 734]. Thus, it is evident, this phrase simply means, the principles are to be observed unless it is not possible to follow the same in the particular circumstances of a case.”
Etymologically, ‘to the extent possible’ and ‘as far as possible’ are synonymous. The decisions which lay down principles for interpretation of ‘as far as possible’ would, therefore, apply equally to interpretation of ‘to the extent possible’.
The use of ‘to the extent possible’ is, therefore, cautious, circumspect and well-guided. Court may well be militating against intent if it were to hold, Rule 3(A) and 4(A) of The High Court of Delhi Rules Governing Patent Suits, 2022 to be mandatory.
– Hon’ble Justice C. Hari Shankar of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, Novartis AG v. Zydus Healthcare Limited, [CS(COMM) 681/2021] decided on 12.12.2022.