Remove social media post that claimed centipede found in Amul ice cream: Delhi High Court [5.7.2024]

The Delhi High Court has directed a Noida-resident to remove her social media posts that alleged she found a centipede in a tub of Amul ice cream bought by her.

Justice Manmeet PS Arora, while dealing with a lawsuit by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation which markets products under Amul brand, further restrained the customer from posting and uploading any other identical or similar content on social media platforms until further orders.

In a post on social media platform 'X' on June 15, Deepa Devi had shared a picture purportedly showing a centipede inside her Amul ice cream tub that she ordered through an instant delivery app.

The plaintiff company argued in high court that the claim was false and incorrect as it was absolutely impossible for any foreign substance, let alone an insect, to be present in an ice cream tub packed at its facility.

In an order passed on July 4, the court observed that the non-cooperation of the customers who have also remained absent in the present proceedings, has given credence to the company's case.

It noted that the customers were given an opportunity to participate in the court proceedings and make good the claim that they canvassed in their social media post but they "elected not to appear" and also refused to hand over the ice cream tub to the company for the purpose of the investigation.

"The non-appearance of defendant nos. 1 and 2 (Deepa Devi and her husband) evidences their unwillingness to participate in the forensic examination and verification of their claims of the dead insect made in the social media posts uploaded on 15.06.2024," observed the court in an ad interim ex-parte order passed in the case.

"Defendant nos. 1 and 2 are directed to forthwith remove the social media posts uploaded by them on defendant no. 1's Twitter/X account titled @Deepadi11 ..within 3 days," ordered the court.

They are restrained from "posting and uploading any content identical or similar to the said post" on 'X' or any other social media platform including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube until further orders, it said.

They are further restrained from "publishing or causing to publish any content with regard to the plaintiff or plaintiff's product with respect to the incidents referred to in the plaint, anywhere on the internet or in print or electronic media until further orders," it added.

The court clarified that if the defendants fail to take down the social media posts within three days, the company can write to 'X' to delete the same from their platform.

Represented by senior advocate Sunil Dalal and lawyer Abhishek Singh, the plaintiff company submitted that while the company was willing to investigate the matter and had even contacted the customers on June 15, they refused to make available the ice cream tub to the officials.

It was submitted that numerous stringent quality checks are employed at every stage -- from procurement of raw milk from the farmer till the manufacturing of the ice cream at the plaintiff's state of art ISO certified plants, till the loading of finished product in specially-designed, temperature-controlled refrigerated vans.

The court was assured that stringent quality checks absolutely ensure that no physical, bacterial or chemical contamination whatsoever is introduced to the product and also, ensures that each product conforms to the standards laid out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

The plaintiff argued that a forensic examination can be conducted by any government laboratory as it would effectively determine whether the insect was indeed present in the ice cream tub before it was sealed and packed.

05 Jul 2024