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Montblanc Promises Supreme Court Not To Use Gandhi Picture

 International luxury giant Montblanc on Monday  assured the Supreme Court that it will not use the picture and name of Mahatma Gandhi for commercial purposes. The undertaking to this effect by Montblanc Boutique and Montblanc
PTI May 03, 2010 17:46 IST
PTI


 International luxury giant Montblanc on Monday  assured the Supreme Court that it will not use the picture and name of Mahatma Gandhi for commercial purposes.

The undertaking to this effect by Montblanc Boutique and Montblanc International GMBH was given to the apex court after Government said that it has rejected the plea of the MNC seeking permission to use the image of Gandhi for its high-end Mahatma Gandhi limited edition pens.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said that the Government has issued a notification in this regard after rejecting the application of Montblanc.

"We will not permit the use of word or picture of Mahatma Gandhi for commercial purpose. This is a national emblem and this cannot be used for commercial purpose," he submitted before a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan.

He said the company has to make an honest commitment that it will not sell the pens anymore.

The counsel for the MNC said that such an undertaking has already been given to the Kerala High Court in February this year and it was ready to do so before the apex court.

The bench recorded the undertaking of the Montblanc and said "it will also be binding on the distributors of the luxury pens".

The apex court was hearing the petition filed by two lawyers claiming the Montblanc Boutique and Montblanc International GMBH were misusing Mahatma's name for marketing purposes.

It had issued notices to the Centre and the MNC on the petition filed by Harsh Vardhan Surana and Sandeep Singh alleging that the company was using the greatness of the person to sell an ordinary product at unbelievable high prices.

The petition had claimed the practice adopted by the company in this regard was in violation of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act.

"Under the Act, no person can use for the purpose of any trade, business or calling or profession, or in the title of any patent, or in any trademark or design, any name or emblem, specified in the Schedule or any any colourable imitation without the previous permission of the Centre," the PIL had said. 

The PIL had alleged the company involved Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, "which is being governed by people with self- interest", in its project only for the sake of money and commercial gains.

"This company is using his (Gandhi's) greatness for its selfish gains. What they are doing now is nothing charitable but only for commercial gains. For the sake of money, the company has involved Mahatma Gandhi Foundation governed by people with self-interest," it had said.

The petitioners had said the ruling party and the opposition were doing nothing as nobody wanted to spend their energy on this sensitive issue.

"It is for the judiciary and for the apex court to intervene and direct. The very act is demeaning for every citizen's self-respect and for the nation's image. It's a shame and disgrace," it had said. PTI