Delhi HC Orders Take Down of Posts in WhiteHat Jr Defamation Case
WhiteHat Jr’s founder Karan Bajaj filed a Rs 20 crore defamation case against Pradeep Poonia on 21 November.
Delhi High Court, on Monday, 23 November, directed software engineer Pradeep Poonia to take down specific tweets about online coding company WhiteHat Jr and restrained him from using the name WhiteHat Sr on its YouTube channel, LiveLaw reported.
BYJU’s-owned coding platform for children WhiteHat Jr’s founder-CEO Karan Bajaj filed a defamation case worth Rs 20 crore ($2.6million) against Poonia on Saturday 21 November.
The court also granted an ad interim injunction on WhiteHat Jr’s plea to restrain Poonia from displaying communication and chats between WhiteHat and its employees obtained from Slack on his YouTube channel.
Poonia has also been restrained from commenting on the number or quality of teachers. The Court will hear the matter next on 1 January.
Poonia, a former employee with CISCO, goes by the handle @WhiteHatSr on Twitter and had published a series of posts on the platform as well as on Reddit and YouTube, alleging misleading advertising, lack of qualified teachers and false claims made by the coding company.
The suit, filed before the Delhi High Court, sought a permanent injunction for “infringement of trademarks and copyrights”, “mischief, and invasion of privacy and damages” among other charges in violation of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, the Copyright Act, 1957, and the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
Bajaj, in his suit, accused Poonia of a “sinister” post aimed at the company’s advertisements and following take-down notices by the company, states that Poonia “launched a systematic and highly defamatory attack” against the coding company.
Bajaj goes on to further accuse Poonia of hacking into White Hat Jr’s Slack platform (internal business communications platform) “to access confidential employee communications, including communications with parents.”
On Saturday night, Poonia tweeted about the case filed against him along with a post on Reddit where he described the move by the company as a “desperate step”.
“Their lawsuit is to get interim junction and make me stop showing it to everyone. And even try to take down all my videos/posts/Reddit everything,” Poonia wrote on Reddit.
In a separate but related development on 28 October, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), had ordered the BYJU’s-owned coding company to take down five of its advertisements for violating the ASCI code.
The ads, broadcast on television and across social media, urge children to take up computer programming classes to secure their future.
“ASCI has processed complaints against seven ads of WhiteHat Jr, five of which were in potential violation of the ASCI code,” ASCI secretary general Manisha Kapoor was quoted as saying by The Economic Times.
Poonia was among the primary voices against the advertisement, claiming one of the ads which focused on a child called “Wolf Gupta”, was misleading. In its defamation suit, WhiteHat Jr states the child was “imaginary”.
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