Delhi HC issues summons to WhatsApp, group admins over illegal circulation of Dainik Bhaskar e-paper

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The Delhi High Court has directed WhatsApp to either take down or block over 80 groups illegally circulating the e-newspapers of the Dainik Bhaskar Corporation Limited (DB Corp Ltd v WhatsApp LLC and Ors).

Justice Sanjeev Narula held that a prima facie case is made out and therefore an irreparable loss would be caused if an ex-parte injunction is not granted to restrain the illegal circulation and distribution of the group’s e-newspapers.

“Accordingly, till the next date of hearing, Defendant No. 1 is directed to take down/ block the WhatsApp groups identified under paragraph 7 of the present application – which are unauthorisedly and illegally circulating the Plaintiff’s e-newspaper,” the single-Judge directed.

The Court also issued summons to Whatsapp and the administrators of the groups circulating the e-papers.

The Court was dealing with a suit filed by the Dainik Bhaskar Group which runs and operates the newspapers Dainik Bhaskar, Divya Bhaskar and Divya Marathi.

It had started the digital circulation of its newspapers through e-papers on a subscription model. The model took substantial financial resources to develop and the subscription is for a single individual user who does not have the option of downloading the e-newspaper, it was submitted.

The copies being circulated on WhatsApp groups are thus illegal, it was argued.

The Court directed the defendants to file their written statements within 30 days. They have been asked to file an affidavit of admission or denial of documents attached in the plaint.

The case will now be listed before the Roster Bench on May 2, 2022.

Read Order here:

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