Hyderabad: The City Civil Court’s Xth junior civil judge in Nampally on Friday, ordered Rapido and YouTube to remove an advertisement starring Tollywood superstar Allu Arjun that was allegedly defaming Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).
The civil court barred Rapido and its successors, directors, employees, servants, agents, and representatives from telecasting, broadcasting, streaming, reproducing, distributing, and making available to the public, or communicating to the public, the original and modified versions of the ad films, on their websites or through the internet in any way. The commercial was derogatory to the state-owned TSRTC bus services.
Following a court decision, Rapido, an app-based bike taxi aggregator, has been barred from airing and distributing an advertisement against TSRTC that featured Tollywood actor Allu Arjun. The Court also directed Google’s online video sharing platform YouTube to block access to the original and modified version of the commercial video at the lines identified by the plaintiff.
Rapido advertisement against TSRTC
Rapido has been airing advertisements for the last month in which actor Allu Arjun was seen directly presenting a TSRTC bus that was rented by Rapido for the commercial, implying that travelling on TSRTC buses is uncomfortable and unsafe.
Rapido changed the commercial videos somewhat after receiving a warning from TSRTC but kept the TSRTC bus. TSRTC sought relief from the court after they refused to halt playing the advertisements on multiple social media platforms including YouTube.
TSRTC’s argument in City Civil Court
TSRTC was represented by Senior Counsel Sri K. Vivek Reddy, who claimed that while Rapido had every right to market its services, it couldn’t do so by making defamatory comments about TSRTC and public transportation. He said that TSRTC is a responsible state-run organisation that takes several efforts to ensure the safety of its passengers and that making false and disparaging claims about it is against the law.
The Court then ordered Rapido to stop showing the defamatory commercials, as well as YouTube to remove the defamatory commercials from its platform. The court stated that anyone who is seen to be disobeying the directives would be prosecuted. In light of the court ruling, the court further asked everyone to exercise restraint.
In addition, “I urge the general public to support TSRTC, a state-run organisation that serves the transportation requirements of thousands of people every day. It is our societal asset, and everyone should treat it as if it were their own, contributing to its smooth operation and not defaming it in any way,” the Junior Civil Judge observed during the hearing.