Delhi High Court halts Ram Mandir-related services by Khadi Organic for "preying on public's religious beliefs"


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

The Delhi High Court recently passed an interim order restraining certain private parties (defendants) from using the “Khadi Organic” name and associated marks on a trademark infringement suit filed by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (plaintiff).

Justice Sanjeev Narula passed the order on January 18 after being told that the defendants were misusing the goodwill and name of the Khadi Commission to secure donations and make fraudulent promises to supply “free Ram Mandir Prasad” on the payment of a delivery charge as well as Ram Mandir-related collectibles.

The Court opined that the defendants appeared to be attempting to monopolise the Ram Mandir consecration event “by preying on the public's religious beliefs and devotion” and by misusing the Khadi Commission’s goodwill.

It, therefore, directed the defendants to halt such operations, suspend their website, and take down social media posts on the supply of free “Ram Mandir Prasad” as well as merchandise associated with the Ram Mandir Pran Pratishta (consecration/ inaugural ceremony) of January 22.

The order was passed after the Court examined images of the defendants’ website and donation pages, which led the judge to arrive at a prima facie opinion that the defendants' “Khadi Organic” marks were deceptively similar to the “KHADI” trademark which is owned by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

The Khadi Commission also alleged that there were several posts by disgruntled customers who complained that they placed orders with the defendants for Ram Mandir-related merchandise but did not receive the same. The plaintiff’s counsel added that the Commission too placed such an order for such merchandise but did not receive the order.

The plaintiff argued that this indicated that the defendants had obtained money from customers on false promises and without providing a confirmation receipt or proof of dispatch of merchandise orders.

“In these circumstances, the Court is convinced that the Plaintiff has been able to demonstrate a prima facie case in their favour and in case an ex-parte interim injunction is not granted, Plaintiff and will suffer an irreparable loss; balance of convenience also lies in favour of the Plaintiff and against Defendants No. 1 and 2. Defendants No. 1 and 2 and any person acting on their behalf are restrained from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, exporting, advertising, directly or indirectly, any kind of goods and/or services under the marks “KHADI ORGANIC” or mark identical or deceptively similar to Plaintiff’s registered KHADI marks, which would amount to infringement or passing off of the Plaintiff’s KHADI marks,” the Court proceeded to order.

Case Title: Khadi and Village Industries Commission v. Ashish Singh and ors