Bombay High Court orders YouTuber Abhijeet Bhansali to take down coconut oil review video

YouTube influencer, Abhijeet Bhansali, who goes by the online name Bearded Chokra was ordered to remove his video negatively reviewing Marico's Parachute coconut oil

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 16, 2020 6:02 PM
Abhijeet Bhansali

The Bombay High Court has reportedly ruled against YouTube influencer, Abhijeet Bhansali, who goes by the online name Bearded Chokra, for his negative review of Marico's Parachute coconut oil. News reports state that the court has asked Bhansali to take down the video and also gave him a week to challenge the judgment and get relief from an appeals court, failing which the video would be have to be taken down.

According to reports, the court pointed out that “It is not in dispute that commercial speech is a part of the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. However, it cannot be that the fundamental right so guaranteed under the Constitution can be abused by any individual by maligning or disparaging the product of others, as is done in the present case." The court, however, refused Marico's plea to prevent Bhansali from uploading such reviews in the future.

"In my view, social media influencers are aware of the influence they wield over other audience and that their statements have a magnified and profound impact on their audience… It is apparent that a social media influencer, such as the present Defendant, wields the power to influence the public mind. With power also comes responsibility. I do not believe that a social media influencer can deliver statements with the same impunity available to an ordinary person. Such a person bears a higher burden to ensure there is a degree of truthfulness in his statements,” observed Justice SJ Kathawalla.

Bhansali, whose channel has more than 1 lakh followers, contended that there was much debate around the use of coconut oil and referred to various blogs and articles and tests conducted by him on the video to review the product. Bhansali also denied that he uploaded the video on the behest of any of Marico's competitors.

However, Marico contended that at the end of the video, links to a competitor’s product were provided and Bhansali was receiving a commission on the sale of that product from the e-commerce site.

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