delhi high court

Delhi High Court: In a case wherein the plaintiff, Dharampal Satyapal Foods Ltd. was the manufacturer of the popular candy, “Pulse” and had been aggrieved by the video uploaded by the defendants that contained false, distasteful, defamatory, and objectionable allegations against the product that it caused cancer, Prathiba M. Singh, J., ordered that all impugned videos shall be taken down, although if the defendants wish to upload another video about the candy, without sensationalizing the same based on third party, and based on scientifically verifiable test reports, then the defendants were free to do so.


The plaintiff was a well-known manufacturer of various food products including candies under the brand name Rajnigandha, Catch, Pass-Pass, Chingles, Pulse, etc. The plaintiff submitted that various videos that were uploaded by Defendants 1 to 4, 6 and 7, had a message which portrayed to the viewers that consumption of Pulse Candy caused cancer. The Pulse Candy was a hard-boiled flavored candy, filled with salt and spices, and the mark “Pulse” was adopted in 2013 under the umbrella brand “Pass Pass.” The said product was also duly certified and licensed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (‘FSSAI’).

The plaintiff submitted that Defendant 7 uploaded the impugned video under the title “Harmful Effect of Pulse Toffee| Most Famous Candy of India” and it had the following thumbnail-

It was contended by the plaintiff that the video in question contained false, distasteful, defamatory, and objectionable allegations against the product sold under the mark “Pulse”. Upon attaining knowledge of the impugned video, the plaintiff had sent a cease-and-desist notice to Defendant 7 to delete/disable or take down the impugned video. In response to it, Defendant 7 stated that he would delete the impugned video and gave an undertaking to that effect but as per the plaintiff, Defendant 7 had not abided by the undertaking as the impugned video was only made private and not deleted. Further, the said video had been re-uploaded by Defendants 1 to 4 which was available on the internet.

The videos were said to be damaging the plaintiff’s goodwill and reputation and were causing dilution of the brand name. Moreover, the plaintiff contended that none of the allegations in the videos were true.

Analysis, Law, and Decision

The Court opined, “There can be no doubt that the right to freedom of speech deserves to be protected in order to communicate facts which were verifiable. Such facts ought to be based on credible test reports. However, the sensationalization of the same would also have to be avoided as the same could also lead to unnecessary panic. A baseless fear being created especially in respect of products that are approved, would not be permissible.”

The Court relied on Mother Dairy Foods & Processing Ltd. v. Zee Telefilms Ltd., 2005 SCC OnLine Del 81, and opined that “if the defendant pleaded justification, no interim injunction could be granted. However, if there were any mala fides which were shown or other factors that show sweeping comments having wider ramifications, that would not be permissible. uch videos sometimes may create awareness about some products which may be in consumer interest, although such content could also be actuated by mala fides at the behest of competitors. Therefore, each case would have to be specifically examined to see if an injunction ought to be passed”.

In this instant case, the Court noted that if the main protagonist, i.e., Defendant 7, had acknowledged that the video was misleading, then no one else would be entitled to re-post the said video or an abridged version of it. The Court thus held that the impugned videos should be taken down, however, if there was any factual or other kind of videos which the defendants wish to upload against the plaintiff’s pulse candy, without sensationalizing the same based on third party issued, scientifically verifiable test reports, then the defendants were free to do so.

The Court ordered Defendants 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 and the unknown defendants to take down the impugned videos from the date of service of the present order and if the same were not taken down within 48 hours, then the plaintiff shall give the URLs to Google LLC which shall take them down within 72 hours. The Court directed Google LLC to disclose the identity, any basic subscriber information and account registration details of all the uploaders of the videos in respect of which the details were not available with the plaintiff.

The matter would next be listed on 26-03-2024.

[Dharampal Satyapal Foods Ltd. v. Study Lover, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 6389, Order dated 05-10-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Plaintiff: Mr. Pravin Anand, Ms. Vaishali Mittal, Mr. Siddhant Chamola, Mr. Shivang Sharma, Ms. Gitanjali Sharma, Advocates

For the Defendants: Ms. Mamta Rani Jha, Mr. Rohan Ahuja, Ms. Shruttima Ehersa, Ms. Amishi Sodani, Advocates

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