The Supreme Court on Monday disposed of a petition against international luxury giant Montblanc after the firm assured that it would not use the picture and name of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi for commercial purposes.
Montblanc had come under fire for marketing its luxury brand of pens titled "Mahatma Gandhi Limited Edition" containing an engraved image of Gandhi. One such series had 150 pens each costing Rs 12 lakh, and another series had pens costing Rs 1.5 lakh each. The company termed these as a tribute and homage to the Mahatma.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Deepak Verma and Justice BS Chauhan was told by counsel Hari Shanker, appearing for Montblanc, that following a judgment by the Kerala High Court the company has already given an undertaking to it.
The undertaking, on behalf of Montblanc Boutique and Montblanc International GMBH, was also reiterated before the apex court.
Stating the position of the central government, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court: "We will not permit the use of word or picture of Mahatma Gandhi for commercial purposes. This is a national emblem and this cannot be used for a commercial purpose."
He said that Montblanc had applied for permission Nov 16, 2009, to use Mahatma Gandhi's engraved pictures on its luxury brand pens but this was denied by the central government through a letter Dec 21, 2009.