The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and Montblanc Boutique, on a petition to restrain the international company from misusing the picture and name of Mahatma Gandhi for sale of its pens.
According to the petitioners, lawyers Harsh Vardhan Surana and Sandeep Singh, the company is offering the pens at an unbelievable price of approximately Rs. 12 lakh each. Gandhiji’s images are being displayed on hoardings conveying the message that the pen is mightier than the sword, as also many of his other quotes “to use the greatness of the Mahatma.”
The petitioners alleged that Montblanc Boutique and Montblanc International GmbH were misusing the Mahatma’s name for marketing.
“This issue is of the respect and pride of our national hero and Father of the Nation, and the misuse of Mahatma as a poster boy for commercial gains in the garb of honouring the great man,” the petitioners told a Bench consisting of Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan and Justices A.K. Ganguly and Justice B.S. Chauhan.
“This company is using his greatness for its selfish gains. What they are doing now is nothing charitable…. For the sake of money, the company has involved the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation...”
Moreover, “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 colourable imitation without the previous permission of the Centre.”
The petitioners wanted a direction to withdraw all advertisements, hoardings and displays.