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Home >Companies >News >Byju's-owned WhiteHat Jr gets respite from court in case against Pradeep Poonia
WhiteHat Jr has also sued Anirudh Malpani, another staunch critic, doctor and angel investor (MINT_PRINT)
WhiteHat Jr has also sued Anirudh Malpani, another staunch critic, doctor and angel investor (MINT_PRINT)

Byju's-owned WhiteHat Jr gets respite from court in case against Pradeep Poonia

  • WhiteHat Jr and its founder and CEO Karan Bajaj had recently filed a 20 crore defamation suit against Poonia, who has fiercely criticized WhiteHat Jr's online ads
  • Poonia runs a YouTube channel called WhiteHat Sr, that claims to offer curriculum similar to WhaiteHat Jr for free

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday granted an ad-interim injunction restraining Pradeep Poonia, a Bengaluru-based software engineer from publishing the communication and chats of Byju’s-owned coding platform WhiteHat Jr and its employees, obtained allegedly by hacking the company’s internal communication on the messaging platform Slack.

After the order, Poonia tweeted: Delhi HC refused to grant a sweeping injunction against me as #WhiteHatJr wanted in their 20 Cr suit. They keep trying to silence dissent and have failed. AGAIN! Thanks to all of you who supported me! Let’s continue to fight for transparent and ethical biz practices

The court further directed Poonia to remove specific URLs using “WhiteHat Sr", his specific tweets commenting about the teachers and their qualification at WhiteHat Jr and restrained him from using “WhiteHat Sr" on Youtube.

WhiteHat Jr and its founder and CEO Karan Bajaj had recently filed a 20 crore defamation suit against Poonia, who has fiercely criticized WhiteHat Jr's online ads, pointing to unethical advertising tactics employed by edtech startups to sell its products to parents and young students. In the past two months alone WhiteHat Jr, which offers a platform to teaching coding to children from ages 6-18, has censored more than 20 pieces of content on YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Poonia himself received around 16 takedown notices from YouTube in a span of a month for several of his videos that mocked Whitehat Jr’s online ads.

In the suit, Bajaj and his company alleged that Poonia has infringed their trademark, copyright along with the invasion of privacy. Poonia runs a YouTube channel called WhiteHat Sr, that claims to offer curriculum similar to WhaiteHat Jr for free.

Arguing against the defamatory statement made by Poonia on YouTube and Twitter, Advocate Rajeshekhar Rao, representing WhiteHat Jr, asserted that freedom of speech comes with limits. He said, "When you're out to be a crusader, please remember that your freedom ends where my nose begins."

Advocate Swathi Sukumar, representing Poonia, argued that there was no infringement of trademark as fair criticism falls under the exception of “parody". The court has asked Sukumar to explain how the present case uses" parody" as a defence in its reply.

WhiteHat Jr has also sued Anirudh Malpani, another staunch critic, doctor and angel investor, on the grounds of “incessant posting of false and defamatory tweets which are causing severe damage to WhitHat Jr’s reputation and business through waging a systematic attack on WhiteHat Jr over social media."

WhiteHat Jr has been facing flak from parents, activists and media for misleading advertisements that cashed in on famous entrepreneurs and leaders like Tesla’s Elon Musk and Google’s Sundar Pichai among others for advertising its courses. The Advertising Council of India also frowned upon some of its advertisements and asked them to take down.

Poonia has been given three weeks to file his reply and WhiteHat Jr has been granted two weeks post reply to file their rejoinder. The case will be heard next on 6 January.

With inputs from Japnam Kaur Bindra

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