Following a suit by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) Limited, Delhi High Court has directed the removal of an article titled “WHITE LIE OF AMUL AND BLACK TRUTH OF ANIMAL MILK” which is available on the website, ditchdairy.in and a Facebook page called “Boycott milk”. (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation vs Chetan Pandilya & Ors)
A Single Judge Bench of Justice V Kameswar Rao has also restrained the uploader from publishing other identical or similar articles.
GCMMF (plaintiff) is the registered proprietor of trademark “Amul” and its variant marks.
It was the plaintiff’s concern that the defendant’s website i.e., ditchdairy.in, while specifically targeting Amul products, created a bias, fear psychosis and prejudice in the minds of the public against milk and dairy products.
The plaintiff argued that the defendant, Chetan Pandilya, promoted a false narrative that the plaintiff and its members inflicted cruelty on animals and that dairy products caused several fatal diseases like cancer etc.
The Court was further informed that the defendant was himself promoting and selling plant-based products of different brands like Kizo Nutrition, Good Dot, Fitjar etc and therefore, wanted to lower the esteem of Amul products by spreading false propaganda.
The plaintiff argued that the defendant’s libellous and degrading conduct was causing grave injury to its hard-earned goodwill and reputation.
The Court was informed that the plaintiff was the 9th largest processor of milk in the world and was famously associated with the tagline ‘The Taste of India’ since the year 1994.
To refute the defendant’s claims, the plaintiff added that dairy milk was naturally more nutrient-rich in comparison as compared to plant-based beverages. Even with respect to food safety, numerous regulations existed to safeguard the quality of milk, the plaintiff added.
In view of the submissions made before it, the Court opined that the plaintiff had made out a prima facie case for grant of interim ex-parte order.
Facebook submitted that being an intermediary, it would only block/remove the articles if such a direction is issued by the Court.
The Court thus ordered,
“The defendant No.1 is directed to remove the articles “WHITE LIE OF AMUL AND BLACK TRUTH OF ANIMAL MILK” available at https://ditchdairy.in/movement/white-lies-of-amul and from Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/boycottmilk and is also restrained from uploading articles identical or like the said articles on the above website / facebook account till the next date of hearing.”
The Court also issued summons in the suit. The matter would be heard next on April 6, 2021.
ASG Chetan Sharma with Advocates Abhishek Singh, Amit Gupta appeared for the plaintiff.
Facebook was represented by Senior Advocate Parag Tripathi with Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas Advocates Tejas Karia, Varun Pathak, Gauhar Mirza, Nayantara Narayan, Malikha Mehra, Thejesh R.