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Bombay HC orders removal of YouTube video reviewing Parachute coconut oil, says free speech not absolute

The Bombay High Court, in a judgement (see below) on January 15, directed a YouTube creator to takedown a video reviewing Parachute coconut oil, since “the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression is not an unfettered right,” and “while it is absolutely necessary to maintain and preserve the freedom of speech and expression," it is equally necessary to have some restrictions on this freedom "for the maintenance of social order in democracy”. This judgement came in a case where Marico Limited, an FMCG company which manufactures Parachute coconut oil had moved the court against YouTube creator Abhijeet Bhansali after he had uploaded a review of the company’s coconut oil on his YouTube channel called Bearded Chokra; Marico had argued that the video was “disparaging and denigrating” in nature and was a “targeted attack” at its product. 'Free speech doesn't mean maligning a product': Justice SJ Kathawalla held that since the right to free speech has certain reasonable restrictions, it can not be “abused by any individual by maligning or disparaging the product of others as is done in the present case”. Marico had also sought an injunction to discourage Bhansali from creating similar videos in the future, however, Justice Kathawalla did not agree to that. With the advent of the internet and platforms like YouTube, reckless statements are being made in the “garb of free speech and expression,” Justice Kathawalla said, and added that reasonable restrictions to free speech are not being followed on such platforms “to make…

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