WhiteHat Jr. and its CEO Karan Bajaj have managed to secure a partial gag order from the Delhi High Court against Pradeep Poonia, who has been openly critical of the company and its practices. In response to a ₹20 lakh defamation suit filed by the Byju’s-owned company and Bajaj, the high court has restrained Poonia from a number of activities essentially, scutting any criticism that could amount to defamation.
Poonia will have to delete multiple tweets posted through September and October, particularly those accusing WhiteHat Jr of being a ponzi scheme and other unproven claims. In addition, Poonia will also have to delete some YouTube videos, refrain from using “WhiteHat Sr” on his YouTube channel, as well as remove videos that display confidential information of WhiteHat Jr’s employees or Slack channels.
Moreover, Poonia cannot comment on the company’s number and quality of teachers, or their education or professional background or download any curriculum from the company’s platform.
Filed on November 20, the defamation the suit includes allegations of trademark and privacy infringements. Accusing Poonia of launching a “systemic and highly defamatory” attack against them, “hacking” the company’s Slack channels and accessing confidential company information, the company has demanded permanent injunctions of Poonia’s social media presence including his accounts on Twitter, YuTube, Reddit, LBRY and his Telegram username and groups. It also asked that Poonia be prevented from publishing any defamatory or derogatory statements, from using the WhiteHat Jr trademark.
WhiteHar Jr and Bajaj were represented by Mukul Rohatgi, the former Attorney General of India, Rajshekhar Rao, among others. Poonia was represented by Advocate Swathi Sukumar.
HC: The suit entails several disputed questions of fact which it would be improper to enter upon at this stage. However, there are some facts which require an injunction. Poonia is restrained from these.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) November 23, 2020
The high court said it would not get into the facts of the case for now, but that certain injunctions need to be granted at the moment. The case was heard by Justice Mukta Gupta.
In recent months, WhiteHat Jr. has managed to wipe any criticism about itself off of YouTube by claiming copyright infringements. Apart from posts on YouTube, multiple people who have critiqued the company or its ads have found their posts wiped across social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and Quora, reported Forbes India. Multiple videos posted by Poonia and at least two of his YouTube channels were removed.
WhiteHat Jr. has also served a defamation suit against another critic Aniruddha Malpani.