A Hyderabad court has restrained app-based bike taxi aggregator Rapido from telecasting a commercial featuring Tollywood actor Allu Arjun, defaming the state-owned Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).
The 10th Junior Civil Judge of the City Civil Court restrained Rapido from telecasting, broadcasting, streaming, reproducing, distributing, making available to the public, and/or communicating to the public the original and modified versions of the ad films, on their websites or through the internet in any manner. The commercial was defamatory to the bus services run by the state-owned TSRTC.
It also directed Google’s online video sharing platform YouTube to block access to the original and modified version of the commercial video.
For the past month, Rapido has been widely airing ads in which Allu Arjun was seen suggesting that it is “uncomfortable and dangerous” to travel in TSRTC buses by showing a TSRTC bus which was hired by Rapido for the commercial.
After the TSRTC served a notice, Rapido slightly modified the ad films but continued to display the TSRTC bus. Since they refused to stop airing the ads on various channels and YouTube, the TSRTC had approached the court for relief.
Senior counsel K. Vivek Reddy, who appeared for the TSRTC, argued that while Rapido was surely entitled to promote its services, it cannot do so by making defamatory statements about the TSRTC and public transport.
He contended that the TSRTC is a responsible state-run corporation which takes several precautions for the safety of its passengers and it is against the law to make such false and demeaning statements about it.
TSRTC Vice Chairman and Managing Director V. C. Sajjanar appealed to the general public to strengthen the TSRTC which is a state-run. decades-old corporation serving the transportation needs of lakhs of people each day.
“It is our social asset and everyone should own it up as their own and help maintain its smooth functioning and not defame it in any manner whatsoever,” he said.