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In a pragmatic, progressive and pertinent judgment titled Jyoti @ Gayatri v. Rohit Sharma @ Santosh Sharma in CRL. REV.P. 56/2018 and cited in 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 561 that was reserved on 10 April and then finally pronounced on June 10, 2022, the Delhi High Court has observed that the determination of maintenance in matrimonial disputes depends on the financial status of the husband and the standard of living that the wife was accustomed to in her matrimonial home. The Court was dealing with a criminal revision petition that was filed by a wife seeking enhancement of quantum of maintenance awarded by the Principal Judge, Family Court claiming it to be on the lower side. The Court dismissed this petition since it found no valid reason to do so.
To start with, this brief, brilliant, bold and balanced judgment authored by Hon’ble Mr Justice Chandra Dhari Singh sets the pitch in motion by first and foremost putting forth in para 1 that, “The instant criminal revision petition has been filed under Sections 397 and 401 read with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter “Cr.P.C”) by the revisionist seeking enhancement of quantum of maintenance awarded vide Judgment dated 27th November, 2017 passed by learned Principal Judge, Family Court, Central District, Tis Hazari, Delhi (hereinafter “learned Principal Judge”) in MT No. 5861929/2016 claiming it to be on the lower side.”
To put things in perspective, the Bench then while dwelling briefly on the facts of the case envisages in para 2 that, “Brief facts of the case are as follows:
i. The marriage between revisionist and respondent was solemnised on 11th July, 2008 as per the Hindu rites and ceremonies at Delhi. No issue was born from the said wedlock. It is alleged that revisionist was abused, insulted and ill-treated for bringing insufficient dowry by the respondent/husband and his family members. It is further alleged that Respondent is an alcoholic person having affairs with other women. It is also alleged that the respondent and his parents demanded cash amount of Rs. 10 Lacs for supporting the business of the husband/respondent. Since the revisionist failed to bring dowry of Rs. 10 Lacs, she was thrown out of her matrimonial home on 28th October 2008.
ii. The revisionist was totally neglected by the respondent and was unable to maintain herself. She is totally dependent upon her parents. She has filed a petition under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C for her maintenance. Since the respondent started absenting from the proceedings, Court proceeded ex-parte on 11th December 2015.
iii. Vide Judgment dated 27th November 2017, the petition under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C was allowed by the learned Principal Judge, by which the respondent was directed to pay litigation cost of Rs. 11,000/- and maintenance, as follows:
a) Rs. 2,000/- per month from the date of filing of the petition i.e 26th May, 2010 to 25th May, 2015;
b) Rs. 2,500/- per month w.e.f 26th May, 2015 to 27th November, 2017; and
c) Rs, 3,000/- per month w.e.f from 27th November 2017 till such time revisionist gets remarried.”
Needless to say, the Bench then mentions in para 3 that, “Being aggrieved by the inadequate maintenance, awarded by the learned Family Court vide judgment dated 27th November 2017, revisionist has preferred the instant revision petition for the enhancement of the maintenance amount.”

No doubt, the Bench rightly acknowledges in para 16 that, “It is an admitted fact that marriage between the revisionist and respondent no. 1 was solemnized. But due to some differences between revisionist and respondent no.1, started living separately, pursuant to which revisionist has filed petition under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. The object behind Section 125 of the Cr.P.C is to prevent vagrancy and destitution of wife, minor children and the parents. In the case of Manish Jain Vs. Akanksha Jain, (2017) 15 SCC 801, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed as under:
“16. An order for maintenance pendente lite or for costs of the proceedings is conditional on the circumstance that the wife or husband who makes a claim for the same has no independent income sufficient for her or his support or to meet the necessary expenses of the proceeding. It is no answer to a claim of maintenance that the wife is educated and could support herself. Likewise, the financial position of the wife’s parents is also immaterial. The court must take into consideration the status of the parties and the capacity of the spouse to pay maintenance and whether the applicant has any independent income sufficient for her or his support. Maintenance is always dependent upon factual situation; the court should, therefore, mould the claim for maintenance determining the quantum based on various factors brought before the Court.””
While citing another relevant case law, the Bench then notes in para 18 that, “In the case of Bharat Hedge vs Shrimati Saroj, (2007) SCC OnLine Del 622, Co-ordinate Bench of this Court has laid down certain factors/guidelines to be considered for determining the maintenance. The relevant paragraphs are as follows:
“8. Unfortunately, in India, parties do not truthfully reveal their income. For self employed persons or persons employed in the unorganized sector, truthful income never surfaces. Tax avoidance is the norm. Tax compliance is the exception in this country. Therefore, in determining interim maintenance, there cannot be mathematical exactitude. The court has to take a general view. From the various judicial precedents, the under noted 11 factors can be culled out, which are to be taken into consideration while deciding an application under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The same are:
1. Status of the parties.
2. Reasonable wants of the claimant.
3. The independent income and property of the claimant.
4. The number of persons, the non applicant has to maintain.
5. The amount should aid the applicant to live in a similar life style as he/she enjoyed in the matrimonial home.
6. Non-applicant’s liabilities, if any.
7. Provisions for food, clothing, shelter, education, medical attendance and treatment etc. of the applicant.
8. Payment capacity of the non applicant.
9. Some guess work is not ruled out while estimating the income of the non applicant when all the sources or correct sources are not disclosed.
10. The non applicant to defray the cost of litigation.
11. The amount awarded u/s. 125 Cr.PC is adjustable against the amount awarded u/s. 24 of the Act.””
Most significantly, the Bench then lays bare in para 19 what forms the cornerstone of this learned judgment wherein it is postulated that, “The intent behind granting interim/permanent alimony is to ensure that the dependent spouse is not reduced to destitution or vagrancy on account of the failure of the marriage, and not as punishment to the other spouse. The financial capacity of the husband, his actual income with reasonable expenses for his own maintenance, and dependant family members whom he is obliged to maintain under the law, liabilities if any, would be required to be taken into consideration, to arrive at the appropriate quantum of maintenance to be paid. It is settled law that balance and equity must carefully be drawn between all relevant factors. The test of determination of maintenance in matrimonial disputes depends on the financial status of the respondent and the standard of living that the revisionist was accustomed to in her matrimonial home.”

Be it noted, the Bench then points out in para 21 that, “The plain import of sub-section (1) of Section 127 Cr.P.C is that a provision is made therein for an increase or decrease of the allowance consequent on a change in the circumstances of the parties at the time of the application for alteration of the original order of maintenance. It must be shown that there has been a change in the circumstances of husband or of the wife.”
While citing a very relevant case law, the Bench then states in para 22 that, “In the case of Bhagwan Dutt vs Kamala Devi, (1975) 2 SCC 386, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that word “circumstance” as appearing in Section 127 Cr.P.C has been interpreted by Hon’ble Apex Court by observing that circumstances as contemplated in Section 127 (1) Cr.P.C must include financial circumstances and in that view, the inquiry as to the change of circumstances must extend to a change of financial circumstances. The relevant portion is reproduced herein:
“20. There is nothing in these provisions to show that in determining the maintenance and its rate, the Magistrate has to inquire into the means of the husband, alone, and exclude the means of the wife altogether from consideration. Rather, there is a definite indication in the language of the associate Section 489(1), that the financial resources of the wife are also a relevant consideration in making such a determination. Section 489(1) provides inter alia, that:
“on proof of a change in the circumstances of any person receiving under Section 488 a monthly allowance, the Magistrate, may make such alteration in the allowance as he thinks fit.”
The “circumstances” contemplated by Section 489(1) must include financial circumstances and in that view, the inquiry as to the change in the circumstances must extend to a change in the financial circumstances of the wife.””
While citing an Apex Court ruling, the Bench then observes in para 25 that, “While determining the quantum of maintenance, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Jasbir Kaur Sehgal v. District Judge Dehradun & Ors., (1997) 7 SCC 7 has held as follows:-
“8. … The court has to consider the status of the parties, their respective needs, the capacity of the husband to pay having regard to his reasonable expenses for his own maintenance and of those he is obliged under the law and statutory but involuntary payments or deductions. The amount of maintenance fixed for the wife should be such as she can live in reasonable comfort considering her status and the mode of life she was used to when she lived with her husband and also that she does not feel handicapped in the prosecution of her case. At the same time, the amount so fixed cannot be excessive or extortionate…””
Most remarkably, the Bench then concedes in para 27 that, “The change of circumstances referred to in sub-section (1) of Section 127 Cr.P.C. is a comprehensive phrase which also includes change of circumstances of husband. The amount of maintenance once fixed under section 125(1) Cr.P.C. is not something which can be taken to be a blanket liability for all times to come. It is subject to variation on both sides. It can be increased or decreased as per the altered circumstances. Further, the circumstances alleged by the revisionist/wife already existed at the time of passing the original maintenance judgment; therefore, proof of such circumstances cannot form the basis for altering the amount of maintenance under sub-section (1) of Section 127 Cr.P.C. In the instant case, there is nothing on record to prove that there has been change in circumstances that would warrant an enhancement in maintenance.”
Quite forthrightly, the Bench then points out in para 28 that, “In the present case, the revisionist submitted that the respondent is man of sufficient means and earning Rs. 82,000/- per month, but she has not placed on record any documents to assess his exact income and to establish that the he is earning such handsome amount of money. Even this Court does not find any material(s) on record to ascertain the exact income of the respondent nor is there any change in circumstances.”
Quite significantly, the Bench then holds in para 29 that, “The revisionist has also not been able to point out any perversity in the impugned judgment dated 27th November 2017. The Court below i.e. learned Principal Judge, while disposing of the petition under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C, has taken into consideration entire facts and documents/materials on record while directing the respondent to pay monthly maintenance of Rs. 2,000/- per month from the date of filing of the petition i.e 26th May, 2010 to 25th May, 2015; Rs. 2,500/- per month w.e.f 26th May, 2015 to 27th November, 2017; and Rs, 3,000/- per month w.e.f from 27th November 2017 till such time revisionist gets remarried and to clear the arrears within one year, in case of default, he shall be liable to pay penal interest @ 18% p.a.”

Most commendably, the Bench then mandates in para 31 that, “Keeping in view the above observations, this Court does not find any cogent reason to interfere with the impugned judgment dated 27th November, 2017 passed by learned Principal Judge, Family Court, since neither there is any illegality, impropriety or error apparent on record nor any change in circumstances.”
As a corollary, the Bench then puts forth in para 32 that, “Accordingly, the instant Criminal Revision Petition is dismissed for the reasons stated above.”
Going ahead, the Bench then holds in para 33 that, “Pending application, if any, also stands disposed of.”
Finally, the Bench then concludes by directing in para 34 that, “The judgment be uploaded on the website forthwith.”
On the whole, this extremely commendable, cogent, composed and convincing judgment by the Delhi High Court makes it absolutely clear that the Court must always consider the financial status of the husband and changed circumstances while determining maintenance in matrimonial disputes. The Delhi High Court also made it crystal clear that the Courts have also to take into account the standard of living that the wife was accustomed to in her matrimonial home. Of course, there can certainly be just no denying or disputing it!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate

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Legally Speaking

Supreme Court holds off on decision in Baba Ramdev contempt case



The Supreme Court has deferred its decision on a contempt notice issued against yoga guru Ramdev, his associate Balkrishna, and their company Patanjali Ayurved in connection with a case involving misleading advertisements. The bench, comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, stated, “Orders on the contempt notice issued to respondents 5 to 7 (Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, Balkrishna, and Ramdev) are reserved.” The Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority (SLA) informed the court that manufacturing licenses for 14 products of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd and Divya Pharmacy have been suspended immediately. The Supreme Court noted that the counsel representing the firm had requested time to submit an affidavit detailing the actions taken to retract the advertisements of Patanjali products and to recall the medicines.

Highlighting the importance of public awareness and responsible influence, the court emphasized that Baba Ramdev wields significant influence and should employ it responsibly. It awaits an affidavit from Patanjali outlining the measures implemented to withdraw the existing misleading advertisements of the company’s products, with instructions for submission within three weeks.

During the proceedings, Indian Medical Association (IMA) President R V Asokan extended an unconditional apology to the bench for remarks made against the top court in a recent interview with news agency PTI. Justice Kohli conveyed to Asokan that public figures cannot criticize the court in media interviews. However, the court indicated its disinclination to accept the apology affidavit submitted by the IMA president at present. In an earlier hearing on May 7, the apex court had denounced Asokan’s statements as “very, very unacceptable.” The court reiterated its stance that celebrities and social media influencers are equally liable for the products they endorse, warning that if such products are found to be misleading, they could face repercussions.

The case stems from a plea filed in 2022 by the IMA alleging a smear campaign by Patanjali against the Covid-19 vaccination drive and modern medical systems. As the legal proceedings unfold, the Supreme Court continues to emphasize the importance of accountability and responsible conduct in advertising and public discourse. The case underscores the need for stringent regulations to curb misleading advertisements and ensure consumer protection. With the demand for transparency and ethical practices on the rise, the judiciary plays a pivotal role in upholding standards of integrity in commercial communications.

As the court awaits the submission of the affidavit from Patanjali, stakeholders across industries are keenly observing the developments, anticipating their implications on advertising practices and regulatory enforcement in the country.

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Australia fights Musk’s platform over control of online content



In a courtroom battle that underscores the complex interplay between global tech giants and national regulatory frameworks, Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, finds itself at odds with Australian law over the removal of graphic content depicting a terrorist attack.

At the heart of the dispute lies a fundamental question: to what extent should a platform like X be compelled to adhere to the laws of a specific country when it comes to content moderation? The legal showdown commenced as the eSafety Commissioner of Australia sought the removal of 65 posts showcasing a harrowing video of an Assyrian Christian bishop being stabbed during a sermon in Sydney, classified as a terrorist incident by authorities.

Tim Begbie, representing the cyber regulator, argued that while X has policies in place to remove harmful content, it cannot claim unilateral authority to decide what is acceptable under Australian law. He contended that X’s resistance to globally removing the posts challenges the notion of reasonableness within the scope of Australia’s Online Safety Act.

X’s stance, guided by its mission to uphold free speech, underscores a broader philosophical debate surrounding the jurisdictional reach of national laws in the digital realm. The company maintains that while it has blocked access to the posts for Australian users, it refuses to implement global removal, asserting that the internet should not be governed by the laws of a single nation.

However, Begbie argued that geo-blocking, the solution proposed by X, is ineffective due to the widespread use of virtual private networks (VPNs) by a significant portion of the Australian population.

Amidst the legal wrangling, X’s lawyer, Bret Walker, contended that the company had taken reasonable steps to comply with Australian laws while balancing the principles of free expression. He emphasized the importance of allowing global access to newsworthy content, cautioning against the suppression of information on a global scale. The implications of such an approach, he argued, extend beyond Australia’s borders, potentially setting a precedent for censorship on a global scale.

As the case unfolds in the Federal Court, Judge Geoffrey Kennett has issued a temporary takedown order for the posts, extending it until June 10 pending a final decision. The outcome of this legal battle is poised to have far-reaching implications, not only for the regulation of online content in Australia but also for the broader discourse surrounding internet governance and free speech in the digital age.

Beyond the legal arguments, the case underscores the evolving dynamics between tech platforms and regulatory authorities, highlighting the challenges of reconciling competing interests in an increasingly interconnected world. With the proliferation of digital platforms and the rise of social media, questions surrounding content moderation, censorship, and the balance between freedom of expression and societal harm have come to the forefront of public discourse.

In the digital era, where information knows no borders and online platforms wield immense influence over public discourse, the case of X versus Australian law serves as a microcosm of the broader tensions between technology, governance, and individual rights. As societies grapple with the complexities of the digital age, the need for robust legal frameworks, ethical guidelines, and international cooperation becomes ever more apparent.

As the legal battle between X and Australian authorities unfolds, it underscores the intricate relationship between technology, law, and societal norms in the digital age. At stake is not just the removal of graphic content depicting a heinous act but also the broader principles of free speech, censorship, and the jurisdictional reach of national regulations in a globalized world.

The outcome of this case carries significant implications for the future of online content moderation and regulation. On one hand, proponents of free speech argue that platforms like X should have the autonomy to determine their content policies without being unduly influenced by the laws of individual countries. They contend that a global approach to content moderation ensures consistency and prevents the fragmentation of the internet along national lines.

On the other hand, proponents of regulation argue that national laws play a crucial role in safeguarding citizens from harmful content and upholding community standards. They assert that while platforms may operate globally, they must abide by the laws of the countries in which they operate, particularly when it comes to content that poses a threat to public safety or incites violence.

Amidst these competing interests, the case highlights the need for a nuanced approach to content moderation that balances the principles of free speech with the protection of users from harm. It also underscores the importance of international cooperation and dialogue in addressing cross-border challenges in the digital realm.

Beyond the legal realm, the case has broader implications for the future of internet governance and the regulation of online platforms. As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, policymakers around the world face the daunting task of crafting regulations that are effective, enforceable, and adaptable to the ever-changing digital landscape.

Moreover, the case raises important questions about the role of tech companies in shaping public discourse and influencing democratic processes. With social media platforms serving as key channels for information dissemination and political engagement, the decisions made by companies like X have far-reaching consequences for the functioning of democratic societies.

Ultimately, the resolution of this case will have significant implications not only for X and its users but also for the broader digital ecosystem. It will shape the future trajectory of online content moderation, influence regulatory approaches to technology platforms, and set precedents for how governments and tech companies interact in the digital age.

As the legal proceedings continue, stakeholders from across sectors will closely monitor developments, recognizing that the outcome of this case has the potential to reshape the digital landscape for years to come. Whether it leads to greater clarity in content moderation policies, a re-evaluation of regulatory frameworks, or a deeper understanding of the complexities of governing the internet, the case of X versus Australian law represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over the future of online governance and free speech in the digital age.

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Legally Speaking

Supreme Court Framed Issues To Consider, Hearing In July 2024: Challenge To Surrogacy Law



SC seeks Centre’s reply on fresh pleas against CAA

The Supreme Court in the case Arun Muthuvel v. Union of India has elucidated the issues it will consider in a batch of petitions challenging provisions of the Surrogacy Regulation Act, 2021 and the Surrogacy Regulation Rules, 2022. The bench comprising of Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice AG Masih passed the order recording the following issues:

  1. Whether the prohibition of commercial surrogacy as stated under Section 4(ii)(b) and Section 4(ii)(c) of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 is constitutional?
  2. Whether the right of a couple to avail surrogacy being restricted to married couples between the age of 23 to 50 years and in case of female and between 26 to 55 years in case of male as it is being provided as stated under Section 4(iii)(c)(I) read with Section 2(1)(h) of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, is constitutional?
  3. Whether the right of a single woman to avail surrogacy being restricted to only widows or divorcees between the ages of 35 to 45 years as it is provided being under Section 2(1)(s) of the Surrogacy, the Regulation Act 2021, is constitutional?
  4. Whether the right of an intending couple to avail surrogacy being restricted to only those couples who do not have a surviving child as provided as stated under Section 4(iii)(c)(II) of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021, is constitutional?
  5. Whether individuals who initiated the process of availing surrogacy which being prior to the enactment of the Surrogacy, the Regulation Act, 2021 have any right to avail surrogacy in a manner which being beyond the scope of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, save for cases falling within the ambit of Section 53 of the Act?

The petitioner in the plea highlighted an additional issue which relates to exclusion of single men from the purview of Surrogacy Regulation Act.

Therefore, the lead petition in the matter has been filed by an infertility specialist from Chennai, Dr. Arun Muthuvel, through Advocate Mohini Priya and Advocate Ameyavikrama Thanvi.

Therefore, while highlighting various contradictions in the Surrogacy Regulation Act and the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021, thus, the petitioner in the plea points out that the twin legislations inaugurated a legal regime that was discriminatory and was violative of the constitutional rights of privacy and reproductive autonomy.

The Supreme Court in the case observed and has agreed to hear the petition wherein it challenges against the two Acts. In September last year, several other petitions and applications were filed wherein similar questions were raised, such as whether it was constitutional to exclude unmarried women from the ambit of the Surrogacy Act, or whether limiting the number of donations made by an oocyte donor under the ART Act would amount to unscientific and irrational restrictions.

The bench in the case observed and has expressed reservations about hearing the challenges to both the Acts simultaneously, as the linkage between the provisions of the two Acts could not be ascertained in the present matter. Further, the said court decided that issues wrt the Surrogacy Regulation Act will be heard first, followed by those which relate to the ART Act.

The court asked the parties to file written submissions on the foregoing issues. It has also been clarified by the said court that the petitioners need not restrict their submissions to the issues recorded by the court. Any ‘related’ issue may also be raised during the proceedings.

Accordingly, the court listed the matter for further consideration on July 30, 2024.

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Legally Speaking

SC ruling on spectrum allocation doesn’t affect satellites



SC seeks Centre’s reply on fresh pleas against CAA

The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the government’s application seeking clarification on administrative allocation of spectrum for non-mobile services is not expected to impact the allocation of satellite spectrum as outlined in the Telecom Bill, according to highly placed sources. In February 2012, the Supreme Court had upheld that auctions were the preferred method for allocating scarce public resources like telecom spectrum.

The Centre had filed a miscellaneous application in December last year seeking a clarification on the matter of administrative allocation of spectrum, which was mentioned in court last week. However, the SC registrar refused to accept the plea, arguing that it was seeking a review of the 2012 order and that there was no ‘reasonable cause’ to entertain it.

Government sources emphasized that this decision would not change the existing laws governing spectrum allocations for satellite communications, as clearly stated in the Telecom Bill. Sources clarified that the application did not seek to amend the 2012 judgment on 2G spectrum allotment nor did it seek permission for administratively allocating spectrum. Spectrum will continue to be auctioned for mobile services, while for the 19 specific use cases cited in the Telecom Bill, it will be allocated administratively.

The government had filed the miscellaneous application at the Supreme Court to explain its intentions before tabling the bill in Parliament, emphasizing that it was not seeking any permission from the court. The application aimed to seek appropriate clarifications from the court regarding the CPIL judgment in 2012, to establish a spectrum assignment framework that includes methods of assignment other than auction in suitable cases, to best serve the common good. In 2012, the SC had criticized the ‘first-come, first served’ method for spectrum allocation, known as the CPIL judgment, and had quashed the 2G spectrum allotted by the United Progressive Alliance government.

Since then, the government has been issuing spectrum administratively in certain cases where auctions are not technically or economically preferred or optimal. The Telecom Bill’s First Schedule lists satellite spectrum and 18 other sectors where administrative allocations will be compulsory, including law enforcement, public broadcasting, in-flight and maritime connectivity, the Indian Army and Coast Guard, and radio backhaul for telecom services. Government sources noted that all stakeholders were consulted on the issue, and the government was confident of its legal standing as outlined in the Telecommunications Act.

The SC, in a presidential reference, did not specify that all spectrum should be auctioned, only that for mobile services. The Supreme Court’s decision not to accept the government’s application seeking clarification on spectrum allocation for non-mobile services does not alter the framework outlined in the Telecom Bill. While auctions remain the preferred method for mobile services, administrative allocations will continue for specific use cases, including satellite spectrum, as delineated in the bill.

The rejection of the application underscores the importance of adherence to established legal procedures and the judiciary’s role in upholding regulatory frameworks. Moving forward, the government remains committed to transparent and efficient spectrum allocation, balancing the imperatives of economic efficiency and public interest in the telecommunications sector.

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Legally Speaking

Legal Victory for Ankiti Bose: Limits Imposed on Defamatory Content Regarding Former Zilingo Chief



A legal dispute has unfolded involving B2B fashion startup Zilingo, with former CEO Ankiti Bose on one side, and co-founder Dhruv Kapoor and former COO Aadi Vaidya on the opposing side.

A recent court decision in Delhi has brought focus to a legal dispute involving Ankiti Bose, the former CEO of Zilingo, a prominent technology platform. The court issued an ex parte order in Bose’s favor, instructing certain parties, including Zilingo co-founder Dhruv Kapoor and former COO Aadi Vaidya, to refrain from making defamatory statements against Bose. This decision underscores the importance of protecting reputational rights against unfair reporting.

The court’s ruling cited a prima facie case in Bose’s favor, acknowledging her legal right to safeguard her reputation from damaging remarks. It emphasized that failure to act promptly could lead to irreparable harm to Bose’s reputation. The order specifically bars Kapoor and Vaidya from making any further defamatory postings against the former CEO.

This legal action stems from a broader conflict within Zilingo, a B2B fashion startup that has faced financial struggles since its inception in 2015. Bose’s departure from the company was contentious, marked by allegations of misconduct and underperformance. She subsequently filed a First Information Report (FIR) accusing Kapoor and Vaidya of sexual harassment and business irregularities. In response, the accused have dismissed these claims as retaliatory, asserting that Bose’s actions were prompted by her dismissal from the company.

The litigation highlights the complexities of corporate disputes and the broader implications for individuals and businesses. Beyond the legalities, it reflects the challenges faced by startups navigating internal strife amidst financial difficulties. Zilingo’s trajectory, from inception to liquidation, encapsulates the turbulent landscape of the tech industry and underscores the importance of legal protections for individuals like Bose seeking to safeguard their professional standing amidst controversy. The court’s intervention serves as a reminder of the gravity of reputational issues in the modern corporate environment, particularly amidst the complexities of startup dynamics and leadership disputes.

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Supreme Court In Patanjali Case: Concerned With All FMCG/Drugs Companies Affecting Lives Of Children And Elderly Through Misleading Ads



The Supreme Court in the case Indian Medical Association v. Union Of India observed and has clarified against Patanjali over publication of misleading advertisements that it was not dealing with Patanjali as a standalone entity; rather, the Court’s concern, in public interest, extended to all those Fast Moving Consumer Goods, FMCGs or drugs companies which take consumers of their products for a ride through misleading advertisements. The bench comprising of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah in its order stated that, this court must clarify that we are not here to gun for a particular party, or a particular agency or a particular authority.

This being the absolute Public Interest Litigation, PIL since it is in the larger interest of the consumers, the public to know which way they are going and how and why they can be misled and how […] is acting to prevent that misuse. Thus, at the end, this is also as we said a part of the process of rule of law. If that is violated, then it affects […].

The court in the case observed that the implementation of laws regulating misleading ads in relation to medicines require deeper examination, as the products are used for babies, school going children and senior citizens based on the ads: Further, the court stated that this court is of the opinion that the issue which relates to implementation of the relevant provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act and the Rules, the Drugs and Cosmetic Act and the Rules, and the Consumers Act and the relevant Rules needs closer examination in the light of the grievances raised by the petitioner…not just limited to the respondents before this court but to all similarly situated or placed FMCGs who have […] misleading advertisements, and taking the public for a ride…affecting the health of babies, school going children and senior citizens who have been consuming products on the basis of the said misrepresentation.

The court while taking into account the misleading ads issued in electronic media impleaded the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information Technology, and Ministry of Consumer Affairs. Therefore, the same was being done with a view to examine the steps taken by these Ministries to prevent abuse of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954 (and the Rules), the Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940 (and Rules) and the Consumer Protection Act. Accordingly, the court listed the matter for further consideration on May 07, 2024.

Background Of The Case:

The Court raps Uttarakhand authorities The said court also came down heavily on the State of Uttarakhand for the failure of its licensing authorities to take legal action against Patanjali and its subsidiary Divya Pharmacy. The bench also asked why it should not think that the authorities were ‘hand in glove’ with Patanjali or Divya Pharmacy.

The court in its order stated that it was ‘appalled’ to note that apart from ‘pushing the file’, the State Licensing Authorities did nothing and were merely trying to ‘pass on the buck’ to ‘somehow delay the matter.’ The court stated that the State Licensing Authority is “equally complicit” due to its inaction against Divya Pharmacy despite having information about t heir advertisements violating the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act.

Further, the court stated that it was refraining from issuing contempt notices to other officers. Further, the court directed that all officers holding the post of Joint Director of the State Licensing Authority, Haridwar between 2018 till date shall also file affidavits explaining inaction on their part.

Background of the Case:

The contempt case was initiated wherein the petition is filed by the Indian Medical Association against Patanjali’s advertisements attacking allopathy and making claims about curing certain diseases. On the Supreme Court reprimand, the Patanjali on last November had assured that it would refrain from such advertisements. The court in the case noted that the misleading advertisements continued, thus, the Court had issued contempt notice to Patanjali and its MD in February.

The court in march considering that reply to the contempt notice was not filed, the personal appearance of the Patanjali MD as well as Baba Ramdev, who featured in the press conferences and advertisements published after the undertaking, was ordered by the said Court. Therefore, the Patanjali MD filed an affidavit wherein it is stated that the impugned advertisements were meant to contain only general statements but inadvertently included offending sentences. Further, the court stated that the advertisements were bona-fide and that Patanjali’s media personnel was not ‘cognizant’ of the November order (wherein the undertaking was given before the Supreme Court).

The affidavit filed also contained an averment that the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act was in an “archaic state” as it was enacted at a time when scientific evidence regarding Ayurvedic medicines was lacking. On the last date of hearing, both Baba Ramdev and MD Balkrishna were physically present in Court. The court expressed its reservations about MD Balkrishna’s affidavit, calling it “perfunctory” and “mere lip service”. The court gave last opportunity to the alleged contemnors for filing a proper affidavit.

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