Delhi HC suspends website offering Ram Mandir consecration ceremony prasad

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The Delhi High Court has ordered suspension of the operations of a website “preying on the public’s religious beliefs” and deceiving them by allegedly promoting itself as the official platform for delivery of ‘prasad’ from the Pran Pratishtha ceremony at the

Shri Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Justice Sanjeev Narula, while dealing with a lawsuit against the website by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), observed that the defendant platform was functioning under the name of “Khadi Organic” which was deceptively similar to the plaintiff, a statutory body established for the promotion and development of textiles and the proprietor of “Khadi” trademarks, and directed taking down of all deceptive social media posts.

“It appears that Defendants No. 1 and 2 (the individual and company behind the platform) are attempting to monopolise the consecration event by preying on the public’s religious beliefs and devotion and deceiving them into transferring money to Defendants No. 1 and 2, using the Plaintiff’s goodwill,” the court observed in an interim order passed earlier this month.

“The links to the videos posted by disgruntled consumers annexed with the plaint further indicate that Defendants No. 1 and 2 have falsely obtained money from the members of the public without providing a confirmation receipt or proof of dispatch… (The authority concerned) shall suspend the operation of the domain name/ website “www.khadiorganic.com” registered by them,” the court added.

The KVIC told the court that the defendant platform was offering various products such as garments, collectibles, food items, home temples, goods required to conduct religious ceremonies such as Gangajal and even seeking financial contributions to facilitate their free prasad initiative.

The court was also told that as per the information hosted on the homepage of the website, members of the public desirous of obtaining the “Ram Mandirprasad” for free could place their orders by filling a form provided there and paying a charge of Rs 51 in case of Indian customers and USD 11 for foreign customers.

The plaintiff argued that the defendants have no right to misappropriate its registered “Khadi” mark and render a false impression that it was affiliated with the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, which is organising the consecration ceremony.

The court opined there was a prima facie case in favour of the plaintiff, and if the ex-parte interim injunction is not granted, it would suffer an irreparable loss.

The court restrained the defendants from using the “Khadi Organic” mark and issued summons on the lawsuit.

Jan 22,2024

Source: Economic Times

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