Delhi HC starts hearing Karan Bajaj's defamation matter against Pradeep Poonia.
Karan Bajaj states that he is an individual, a graduate from BITS Pilani, founder of WhiteHat Junior, a platform for teaching coding to young children.
Bajaj: WhiteHat Jr was taken over by BYJU'S.
Sr. Adv. Rohatgi appearing for Bajaj, joins in states that Bajaj is an educator, yoga instructor.

The business of Byju's is coding, which means teaching youngsters the right way to think and innovate.

#Byjus #WhiteHatJr
Rohatgi: Coding helps people make apps and games, and this can be done not just by adults but also by children who have a lot of energy which can be utilized for coding.
Rohatgi: WhiteHat Jr is a registered trademark. If your lordships Google coding in general, it will take you to WhiteHat's website. We have thousands and lakhs of children. Our model is such that if after attending our first class you do not like it, we refund the money back.
Rohatgi: We have filed the registration details. We have no problems, no playing foul of the law, and no litigation. The defendant, Poonia, we know nothing about. We don't know his details, his address and neither is he or his children our consumer. He is a kind of vigilante.
Rohatgi: He is constantly scandalizing, trolling our content, teachers on #Twitter
Rohatgi: He has also hacked into WhiteHat's system and has put the plaint, details of the suit, lawyers who have filed the suit, their names, numbers everything on the public domain.

Rohatgi: He has made a #Telegram account named WhiteHat Poonia and another account called WhiteHat Sr on another platform, thereby infringing my trademark.

Rohatgi: After we withdrew our advertizing campaign of 'Wolf Gupta', he has started mentioning on different platforms that we have murdered Wolf Gupta. We complained to the platforms and some of these posts were taken down.

Rohatgi: Poonia has also got his 13-yo cousin to sign up for our free classes under different names, who records our classes and these recordings are then used to vilify our teachers who are called 'glorified salesmen'. Our teachers are all females.

#WhiteHatJr #Byjus
Rohatgi: He has no business commenting on my curriculum, he's not even a consumer.

#WhiteHatJr #coding #Byjus @Karanbajaj
@Karanbajaj - Founder WhiteHat Jr alleges defamation, disparagement, abuse, breach of privacy, mischief, etc by Poonia before Delhi HC in a $2.3 million suit.

Poonia has also been accused of hacking into WhiteHat Jr's internal business communications platform SLACK.
Rohatgi reads out defamatory tweets by Poonia.
Rohatgi says Poonia has also falsely alleged that WhiteHat Jr uses 'housewives' to teach #coding - states that some of our teachers are in fact PHDs, they are highly qualified.
Rohatgi: He claims what WhiteHat Jr is doing is no different from sexual abuse as the kids will have 'lifelong issues'. Who is he (Poonia) to tell us that our children shouldn't dream?

Rohatgi: His YouTube channel WhiteHat Sr claims that it will teach the entire course of WhiteHat Jr for free.

HC: It's ok Mr. Rohatgi, these (Poonia's acts) are going on and on. But we are still at the stage on ex-parte interim injunction.
Rohatgi continues, Poonia has also formed a #Telegram group called 'Byju's is a menace'.
Rohatgi: This is shocking, he has also alleged that WhiteHat Jr, our platform has sexual and pornographic content, relying on a comment by an outsider through his personal handle on Twitter to some post.
Rohatgi: We are seeing how things happen in the virtual world, all this travels by the speed of light, it is difficult to control it.
Rohatgi: I am requesting for Take Down orders for these platforms. I am not asking them to appear before this court.

#WhatsApp #Telegram
Adv. Swathi Sukumar appears for Poonia.
Sukumar: What is the whole issue about 'Wolf Gupta'?

Sukumar shares a list of news reports and articles in the public domain.
Sukumar for Poonia refers to a @ZeeNewsEnglish article. Wolf Gupta was an advertising masquerade who lands a job in Google of $2.3 mln. He is a fictional character for whom they have created a #LinkedIn profile as well. There is no disclaimer about this completely false fact.
Sukumar for Poonia: I am an IIT graduate.
Sukumar: I am yet to come across any disclaimer till the date the plaint is filed, that Wolf Gupta is a fictional character. They are duping the public.

Sukumar refers to a #LinkedIn post wherein a consumer child's parent has written a complaint about a teacher's conduct to their child. The parent wrote to the founder who offered no apology but 4 free classes.
Delhi HC: There is a constant debate whether children should have such a heavy load. There is debate on whether children should have so many online classes, it's an ongoing debate. But there is a difference between healthy discussions and defamation/attacking an individual.
Delhi HC: You are right that there are articles and it is a fictional imaginary child, which will undoubtedly have consequences on a child's psychology.
Delhi HC: Who is stopping you from a healthy discussion? They have a registered trademark. You are saying that their teachers are housewives, are you saying they are uneducated persons? How can you be so derogatory towards them? Ofcourse this is defamation.

Delhi HC: Who are you to put their numbers in the public domain? Who has given you this right?

Sukumar refers to the Tata v Greenpeace judgment, states that there has been no trademark infringement.
Sukumar refers to another judgment saying the statements are not malicious.

Delhi HC: Is this not malicious that you are stating their teachers are housewives? Even if they are housewives what is the problem if they're doing part-time jobs?
Delhi HC: Do you have the whole list of 7000 teachers to show they are uneducated?

Referring to Sukumar's submission that fair criticism includes right to parody, Delhi HC asks Sukumar to show how the present case uses 'parody'.
Delhi HC asks Poonia how they can use WhiteHat Sr, is this parody?

Sukumar refers to Tata Sons v Greenpeace judgment.
Sukumar refers to another judgment in the case of Pushpa Sharma v DB Corp.
Sukumar refers to a judgment in the case of Mahesh Murty v Pooja Chauhan.
Sukumar: WhiteHat Jr has a practice of removing comments on social media which are critical of WhiteHat. Delhi HC asks for particulars of the claim.
Sukumar shows refers to news articles by The Kent and Forbes.
Justice Gupta: Just show us one article by an independent magazine.
Sukumar alleges dissent, content critical of WhiteHat Jr are taken down suspiciously, refers to a video made by a 12-yo YouTuber who doesn't even have 1000 subscribers, which was taken down. Soon his entire channel was taken down.
Sukumar refers to an article on @Forbes which talks about 12-yo Youtuber Jihan Haria's series of 'advertisement roast', in which WhiteHat Jr's advertisement and marketing campaign was critiqued by the 12 year old.
Sukumar states that the Forbes article mentions corporate censoring, and that Jihan Haria's video wasn't the only one taken down. WhiteHat Jr has engaged in a practice of taking down any comment, post, material critical of it.
Sukumar: The Advertisement Campaign of India has also received 15 complaints against WhiteHat Jr's advertising practices. They have routinely engaged in showing associations with Google and Tesla on ads, why can't I say that?
Del HC agrees that case needs to be heard on both sides. Poonia is not involved in any profit making.

"Prima facie, at this stage no injunction can be granted."
Bajaj: We are not saying that Mr. Poonia cannot state anything at all.

Del HC: They are taking the defence of truth - how will we draw the line between what is defamatory and what is not, at this stage?

WhiteHatJr is all for freedom of speech: Adv. Rajshekhar Rao
Rao: I too have kids, and contract law says that minors cannot enter into valid contracts. But 90% of the kids today have social media accounts.
Rao states that while Poonia has the right to freedom of speech, but when he calls WhiteHat Jr a ponzi scheme, he's completely misplaced.
Rao: The person who invested $300 million in us in a not a fool.
Rao states that while Poonia may not be making money, he is using WhiteHat Jr's content.

"When you're out to be a crusader, please remember that your freedom ends where my nose begins."
Rao: Today the Supreme Court says that your right ends where my reputation begins.

Rao refers to tweets by Poonia which Poonia claims are facts.
Rao: Poonia has ideological problems with us, he wants education to be free. But he doesn't go after private schools asking why they're charging money.

Rao: I have identified tweets and want them taken down.
Rao: I have no desire to scam people, but Poonia states that I am a pyramid scheme, compares us to Modi Care and @amwayindia

Rao: As lawyers we hold candles for free speech.

Delhi HC: Please differentiate between what are perceived as defamatory and what are per se so.
Rao states that so far as psychological abuse of kids by WhiteHat Jr is concerned, it's infact the parents place to decide.

Poonia: He has got a 13-yo minor to impersonate, what standard is he setting?
Rao, appearing for WhiteHat Jr heaps praises on Poonia's lawyer, states that Poonia has got himself an extremely able and eloquent lawyer (referring to Adv. Sukumar).
Rao: Poonia himself states he wants to shut us down.
Rao for Karan Bajaj: I benefited from this industry, and want every child to reach for the moon. There's no harm in aiming for the moon.
Rao relies in Puttuswamy judgment.
Rao: Problem with Puttuswamy is that like the Kesavananda Bharti case, it is difficult to find what to rely on since it has many opinions, but right to privacy is a fundamental right, with multiple facets is agreed upon.
Delhi HC says it will give a limited ad interim injunction and keep a short date. There is clearly an overstepping by Poonia, and there has to be a balance. Prima face there is no sexual abuse.

@Karanbajaj #WhiteHatJr
Rao: He is a technical person who says there is porn on WhiteHat Jr.

This itself will drive the parents away.

HC agrees.
High Court directs registration of plaint, issuance of summons. Directs replies if any to be filed within 30 days. Reply affidavit to be filed in 3 weeks, rejoinder affidavit in 2 weeks. Video evidence to be filed in 2 weeks.

#WhiteHatJr @Karanbajaj
HC dictates order.
HC: WhiteHat Jr is a start up teaching children to code from the comfort of their homes. @Karanbajaj claims to have developed a coding curriculum focused on product development, offering 5 levels of courses. At each level free classes are given.
HC: At any any stage students dissatisfied can move out of the course and the balance fee is refunded on the same day.

Rao says on a lighter note, that he just got a message from one Mr. Kachwaha that he got a refund.

Sukumar interjects that she wants to mention that a lot of people have also not got refunds.
Advocates Sukumar and Majumdar interject while Justice Gupta dictates the order.

Justice Gupta: You are both full of facts, something which is not my scope right now.

Rao: On a lighter note, it's because they are both so well prepared.
Majumdar adds that Mr. Poonia is fortunate to have Ms. Sukumar represent him, and that she personally admires Adv. Sukumar very much.
Justice Gupta resumes dictation of order.
HC: Poonia has stated that Wolf Gupta was employed by @Google for a Rs. 20 crore salary, and was only a fictional element created to attract children. Poonia states that this also affects the mental health and psychology of children.

#WhiteHatJr #WolfGupta
HC: The suit entails several disputed questions of fact which it would be improper to enter upon at this stage. However, there are some facts which require an injunction. Poonia is restrained from these.
Both Sukumar and Majumdar interject on the point of downloaded curriculum.
HC: Poonia states that he has not downloaded any curriculum from Whitehat Hr.
HC: Poonia is willing to suffer an injunction on this count, and therefore is restrained from downloading any curriculum from WhiteHat Jr and circulating the same to third parties.
Majumdar: He takes the face of a donkey and puts it on Mr. Karan Bajaj's face.

HC: I am not on defamation and morphing right now.

HC: Bajaj claims that Poonia has his personal account's password and is being misused. Poonia states he has not used the password but subjects himself to the ad interim injunction.
HC: Ad interim injunction granted to #WhiteHatJr from hacking or unauthorizedly accessing the internal communication platform SLACK and displaying communication and chats between WhiteHat and its employees on his YouTube channel.

HC asks for the specific URL which has to be taken down.

HC restrains Poonia from commenting on number or quality of teachers of #WhiteHatJr and from commenting on their educational or other professional background.
Majumdar agrees to provide the URL number demanded by HC.
HC states that this should've been a part of the prayer.
HC: Poonia is directed to take down the said URL number from his YouTube channel called Pradeep Poonia 3.0.
HC tells @Karanbajaj and WhiteHatJr to mention specifically what needs to be taken down, rather than give vague submissions. HC directs Pradeep Poonia not to use, telecast or transmit any information received by hacking the WhiteHat's server.
Next date of hearing is fixed at 6.01.2021. 3 weeks given for reply and 2 weeks for rejoinder.

On the question of WhiteHat Sr, HC restrains Poonia from using the name WhiteHat Sr on its YouTube channel, and further demands specific URLs for Take Down order.
Majumdar agrees to provide URLs by EOD, states that they can be directed to do so.
HC: Poonia is directed to Take Down a tweets dated 12.09.2020 regarding no. of teachers, 5.09.2020 reg pyramid scheme, other specific tweets on 11.10.2020, 3.09.2020, 22.09.2020, 20.10.2020, 23.10.2020.
Majumdar: He also says that there's a threat to his life.

HC: That's not defamatory.
HC: Poonia also directed not to help people take down content of WhiteHat Jr.
Rao: He has also stated that he can't come to court because we come with big lawyers.

Justice Gupta: What does that mean? Every lawyer is a big lawyer.

Hearing concludes.
You can follow @LiveLawIndia.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: