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Calcutta HC restrains Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan from publishing advt in a dispute on Chyawanprash

Gireesh Babu, New Delhi
Saturday, November 27, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Calcutta High Court has issued an interim injunction restraining Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan Pvt Ltd from issuing certain print and video advertisements for “Baidyanath Chyawanprash Special” in a suit filed by Dabur India Limited. Dabur has alleged that the advertisements issued by Shree Baidyanath disparage the goodwill and reputation of Dabur Chyawanprash and other Chyawanprash in the market, as well.
 
The order issued by Justice Shekhar B Saraf on November 25 also directed Shree Baidyanath to remove or take down the advertisements under question from all electronic media including its website, social media platform and TV channels and internet.
 
“Upon carefully examining the advertisements, I am of the prima facie view that this is not a mere case of puffing and definitely falls in the realm of disparagement,” said the interim order. Accordingly, the Court held that there be ad interim ex parte order of injunction in terms of prayers related to restriction on publishing or uploading the said advertisements and removing or taking down them from the websites and TV channels and others.
 
The dispute comes at a time when the Government of India has advised Chyawanprash to boost immunity in the context of prevalence of Covid-19 virus and the market has seen an intensified competition. Dabur has also recently taken another FMCG major Marico to the Delhi High Court against an advertising campaign, which while launching its own brand of Chyawanprash allegedly called all other Chyawanprash products in the market as ordinary.
 
It is the case of Dabur that in its advertisement, Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan claimed that its Chyawanprash Special is the only complete Chyawanprash, made with the right formulae or ayurvedic text and all other Chyawanprash are deficient in ayurvedic ingredients, not made with the right formulae or ayurvedic text, adulterated with vegetable oil and hence ineffective and do not provide any health benefits.
 
Shree Baidyanath has claimed in its advertisement that its Chyawanprash, contains 52 ayurvedic herbs providing immunity, provides extra energy or help sharp brain growth and to prevent illness, while other Chyawanprash in the market are ordinary, not formulated as per right ayurvedic texts, contains only 42 ingredients (including ayurvedic herbs and other non-herb ingredients); therefore, they are deficient and ineffective.
 
“Dabur argued that none of the Chyawanprash formulations listed in the First Schedule to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, contains 42 ingredients and all of them contain 47 or more ingredients and thus it is an untruthful representation made by the defendant by way of serious comparison contained in these advertisements,” said Jawahar Lal, counsel who represents Dabur India.
 
It further argued that there are no ‘ordinary’ Chyawanprash according to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, as all Chyawanprash (and all ayurvedic medicines) are required to be manufactured based on the ingredients and formulation, specified in one of the authoritative ayurvedic texts, listed in the First Schedule to the Act and all of them are known as Chyawanprash. Hence, there is no special or ordinary Chyawanprash and all are Chyawanprash, based on similar formulation, ingredients and all of them provide health benefits including immunity, energy etc.
 
In addition, the advertising campaign suggests that while Baidhyanath Chyawanprash Special is made of 100 percent pure ghee and 52 ayurvedic herbs, other Chyawanprash are prepared with a mixture of ghee (suggesting vanaspati) and vegetable oil and contains only 42 ingredients (including non ayurvedic herbs) and therefore they are classified by the company as ‘ordinary’.
 
Dabur clocked in a turnover of Rs. 7,184 crore in the financial year 2020-21. According to a news report last year, Chyawanprash is a Rs. 700 crore market with a growth of around 30-40 per cent. Dabur is the market leader with over 60%market share in the Chyawanprash segment, it is said.

Dabur, in its Annual Report for the year 2020-21 claimed that over 63 lakh spoons of its Chyawanprash is consumed in India every day and it has the top most market share in the product segment. The brand has seen a 79.4 per cent growth in revenue and an increase of around 200 basis points in market share, it added.

 

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