Tata Sons drags Greenpeace to HC

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 21 2010, 16:18pm hrs
Tata Sons has moved the Delhi High Court against leading environmental NGOs Greenpeace India and Greenpeace International following a game that makes direct refrences to the company which are disparaging and libelous in nature. The online game Turtle vs Tata (http://greenpeace.in/turtle/turtle-vs-tata) is modelled on the popular computer game Pacman.

The game shows four-headed ball-like creatures with Tata insignias embossed on them, trying to catch a helpless turtle which is desperately trying to escape.

Tata Sons has now moved the court seeking an immediate injunction on the game and slapped a Rs 10-crore defamation suit against the NGOs. The company has also claimed that Greenpeace has infringed the Tata trademark.

A Tata spokesperson said, "Greenpeace has used the Tata trademark as well as T within a circle device without any authorisation and permission of Tata Sons, thereby infringing its trade mark rights. Greenpeace has also maligned the reputation of Tata Sons. Therefore, Tata Sons has moved the high court to seek protection for its rights on the trademark/ name TATA as well as the 'T within a circle' devices." The company also said the port in question Dhamra Port Company, which is 50-50 JV with Larsen & Toubro, has been approved by all government authorities.

New Delhi-based law firm Anand & Anand is representing the Tatas. The court has served notice to the NGOs and asked them to respond by July 27.

The game seeks to create awareness on the alleged environmental impact of Tata Steel's deep water port in Orissa on turtles.

Ashish Fernandez, who is heading the campaign against the Tatas, told FE that so far the NGOs had not received any notice from the court and declined to comment further.

Fernandez explained that the game was an awareness-creating exercise that seeks to compel the government and corporate houses to come up with environment-friendly projects. He added that the NGO was demanding that either the project be relocated or an impact-assessment programme be carried out by the company before starting operations. The impact assessment should be done to find out the feasibility of the project in an area like this, Fernandez said. He said the initiative was also to make an appeal to the ministry of environment and forests to come out with stricter guidelines on such projects.

Meanwhile, the NGO has posted a letter addressed to environment minister Jairam Ramesh wherein it urges the minister to insert a clause in the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification that would disallow any new ports or port expansion within 25 kilometre of CR Z 1 areas, national parks and sanctuaries. We hope that we can draw the attention of the people to our initiative, Fernandez said.