Telecom major Bharti Airtel today urged the Delhi High Court to dismiss the suit of Reliance JIO (RJIO) against its advertisements offering “live and free access” to IPL-2018 coverage. Justice Yogesh Khanna, before whom Airtel moved the plea, issued notice to RJIO and sought its stand before the next date of hearing on July 2. Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for RJIO, told the court that a division bench of the high court has modified Justice Khanna’s interim orders in the matter and against that it has moved the Supreme Court which is expected to hear it tomorrow. He said in the present facts and circumstances, there was no urgency in the matter. Taking note of the submission, the court declined to give an early date of hearing, as sought by Airtel’s lawyer.
The division bench of the High Court on May 10 had modified its single judge’s interim orders and questioned the maintainability of the suit filed by RJIO alleging that Airtel’s advertisement was “deceptive and misleading”. The single judge in his May 2 order had asked Airtel to use the font of 12 pixels in print media and that too in a prominent and visible place and not at the bottom. The May 2 order had also said, “So far as the video clips/television advertisements are concerned the disclaimer should start running from the word the girl says ‘Seasonal Pass’ and it should be displayed in sync with the voiceover.
The disclaimer in billboards and hoardings be also at a prominent place, it had said. Prior to that, on April 13 the single judge had asked Airtel to carry a disclaimer in bold stating that under its ‘live and free access offer’ the only subscription to video streaming platform Hotstar would be free and data charges according to the subscriber’s plan would apply. The May 2 direction came after RJIO moved an application alleging that the April 13 order was not complied with by Airtel.
The division bench in its May 10 decision had upheld the May 2 order to the extent it directed Airtel to use font size of 12 pixel in its print media advertisements and set aside the remaining directions. The bench also upheld the April 13 order. The RJIO, in its suit, had claimed that the advertisements “falsely proclaim” that Airtel was offering “live and free” access to T20 cricket coverage and also “falsely represent that a subscriber need only obtain a 4G sim from the defendant company and download the Airtel TV app to obtain a virtual season pass, that is live and free access to T20 coverage”.