Bombay HC grants interim relief to Indian Express, restrains Prashant Goenka from using Ramnath Goenka’s name
News

Bombay HC grants interim relief to Indian Express, restrains Prashant Goenka from using Ramnath Goenka’s name

Omkar Gokhale

Granting ad-interim relief to the Indian Express group, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday restrained Prashant Goenka and others from using the name and image of group founder Ramnath Goenka on his newspaper, Sajaga Samachar Parivartan Ka,  circulated in Bengaluru.

A Single Bench of Justice SC Gupte has been hearing the infringement suit filed by Indian Express seeking perpetual injunction.

The Court today also directed the defendants not to use the image and the name of Ramnath Goenka on websites or Facebook pages and other social media platforms until further orders.

While dictating the order in the Court, Justice SC Gupte noted,

The question before the Court is should defendant be allowed to trade with the name and image of Ramnath Goenka in view of the newspaper and to collect funds and other concerns.

Prima facie, at this stage, it seems the answer is negative. Plaintiffs have clearly made case for ad-interim injunction in suit for perpetual injunction. There will be an ad-interim injunction based on prayer clauses a, b and c.”

Justice SC Gupte of the Mumbai High Court passed the order
Justice SC Gupte of the Mumbai High Court passed the order

The Court observed that the essence of any action of passing off is the attempt fo the defendant to mislead the public to pass of any of goods of the plaintiff as his own. Moreover, the Court noted that the Indian Express is a reputed newspaper, representing independent and fearless journalism.

As per Indian Express, Prashant Goenka has been passing himself off as the grandson of Ramnath Goenka and thereby passing off as part of the Indian Express group. In this regard, the plaintiff news publication had sought an injunction restraining Prashant Goenka from using the name for an award ceremony which is to be held on November 24.

Indian Express has submitted that Prashant Goenka runs a newspaper by the name of Sajaga Samachar Parivartan Ka circulated in Bengaluru. It was further claimed that Prashant Goenka has been using the image of Ramnath Goenka from the archives of the Indian Express group and that it is a classic case of infringement and passing off.

<em>Sajag Samachar Parivartan Ka</em> newspaper using the image of Late Ramnath Goenka
<em>Sajag Samachar Parivartan Ka</em> newspaper using the image of Late Ramnath Goenka

According to Indian Express, Prashant Goenka is seeking to ride on its goodwill and on the Indian Express Excellence in Journalism Awards. It was submitted that it has registered for the Excellence in Journalism Awards and the defendant using the name of Ramnath Goenka for his awards ceremony is an infringement.

To this, the counsel for Prashant Goenka argued that defendant has applied for ‘RNG Peace Awards’ and that the same does not amount to infringement. It was also argued that there is absolutely nothing on record to show any infringement. It was argued,

My client can legitimately describe himself as grandson of Ramnath Goenka and has admired him since his childhood and has been working with an intent to maintain his reputation. Therefore, defendants are bonafide to use his name.”

Justice Gupte said that it is not a question of using the name by the relatives, but of passing off the name of Indian Express. The Court made it clear that until the ad-interim relief continues, the name and image of late press barron Ramnath Goenka cannot be used by the defendant.

The Court has further asked YouTube to produce the URL of a video made by the defendant and granted liberty to the plaintiff to apply for an injunction on the broadcast of the same.

Senior Adovcate Dinyar Madon appeared for Indian Express and Advocates Nausher Kohli and Jay Vakil appeared for Prashant Goenka.

The Court asked the parties to file replies within four weeks, and posted the matter for further hearing after six weeks.

[Read Order dated November 20, 2019]

The-Indian-Express-v-Prashant-Goenka-Bombay-HC-order.pdf
Preview
Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news
www.barandbench.com