The Delhi High Court has temporarily restrained Pradeep Poonia from hacking or ‘unauthorizedly accessing’ WhiteHat Jr’s internal communication platform and displaying chats between WhiteHat Jr and its employees on his YouTube channel. This comes after WhiteHat Jr founder Karan Bajaj filed a Rs 20 crore defamation suit against Pradeep Poonia, an engineer, alleging defamation, disparagement, abuse, breach of privacy, among others.
Granting an interim injunction to Bajaj, Delhi HC has directed Poonia not to use or telecast any information received by hacking WhiteHat Jr's server and has restrained him from commenting on the number or quality of teachers of teachers and their educational or other professional background. The HC also restrained Poonia from using the name WhiteHat Sr on its YouTube channel.
The High Court also directed Poonia to take down his tweets from September 12 regarding the number of teachers on the coding platform, and other tweets from September 3, 5, 22 and October 11, 20, 22 and 23.
On Friday, Karan Bajaj filed a defamation suit against Poonia after the latter alleged that the WhiteHat Jr team was individually targeting individuals who criticised the coding platform. Poonia posted screenshots allegedly of the company’s internal communication platform on Twitter and on his YouTube channel.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was representing Karan Bajaj, told the court that Poonia hacked into WhiteHat Jr’s system and put details of employees in the public domain. He also alleged that Poonia made his 13-year-old cousin sign up for free classes and used these recordings to ‘vilify’ their teachers.
He also said that Poonia made an account called WhitHat Sr, which he said was infringing on the company’s trademark.
Delhi HC starts hearing Karan Bajaj's defamation matter against Pradeep Poonia.— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) November 23, 2020
On the other hand, advocate Swathi Sukumar, representing Poonia said that WhiteHat Jr was duping the public by advertising a fictional character by the name of ‘Wolf Gupta’ who lands a job in Google for $2.3 million.
“He is a fictional character for whom they have created a LinkedIn profile as well. There is no disclaimer about this completely false fact… I am yet to come across any disclaimer till the date the plaint is filed, that Wolf Gupta is a fictional character. They are duping the public,” she reportedly said.
To this, the HC agreed that a fictional imaginary child will ‘undoubtedly have consequences on a child's psychology’.
“There is a constant debate whether children should have such a heavy load. There is debate on whether children should have so many online classes, it's an ongoing debate. But there is a difference between healthy discussions and defamation/attacking an individual,” the court noted.
Sukumar also told the court that WhiteHat Jr removes comments on social media, which are critical of the platform.
Delhi Hc refused to grant a sweeping injunction against me as #WhiteHatJr wanted in their 20 Cr suit— Pradeep Poonia (@whiteHatSnr) November 23, 2020
They keep trying to silence dissent and have failed. AGAIN!
Thanks to all of you who supported me! Let’s continue to fight for transparent and ethical biz practices @SukumarSwathi
The case will be heard again on January 6, 2021. The court has given both parties three weeks to file their replies and two weeks to file a rejoinder.
Meanwhile, WhiteHat Jr has also filed a Rs 14 crore defamation suit along the same lines against investor Aniruddha Malpani alleging his posts against the company has caused them a loss of revenue.