Khadi India has threatened to sue Fabindia, a chain of ethnic wear retail outlets, for allegedly indulging in “unfair trade practice” by using and selling its cotton products unauthorisedly under its registered brand name “Khadi”. Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has sent a legal notice to Fabindia Overseas Pvt Ltd asking it to immediately stop using Khadi word from all its cotton products and remove display banners from its showrooms immediately alleging that Khadi India’s brand name was unlawfully used to mislead and confuse the consumers.
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“You are called upon to explain your position in the above matter within 15 days from the date of receipt of this notice, failing which the KVIC will be constrained to proceed against your company as per law for the violation of Khadi Mark Regulation and payment or incidental damages for the losses caused to KVIC by Fabindia,” the February 8 legal notice addressed to Fabindia’s New Delhi-based CEO said.
KVIC, which is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, said that despite warning and assurances given earlier, continuation of selling garments in the name and style of ‘Khadi’ was an illegal act and amounted to “indulging in unfair trade pracice by selling normal cotton fabric as Khadi.”
Justifying the legal notice, KVIC Chairman V K Saxena said, “the KVIC was very keen to protect its reputation and would take stringent measures against those who violated rules and regulations that have been framed for the benefit of rural artisans attached to it.”
Maintaining that earlier too such action has been taken against major companies, including one last year, Saxena said the notice to Fabindia said, as per the Khadi Mark Regulations, 2003 and Khadi & Village Industries Commission Act, 1956 in order to regulate the production, sale or trading of Khadi and Khadi products in India, “no textile shall be sold or otherwise trade by any person or certified Khadi institution as ‘Khadr’ or ‘Khadi products’, in any form or manner without it bearing a ‘Khadi Mark’ tag or label issued by KVIC”.
It also said Fabindia was denied the certificate to use the brand name Khadi as it did not adhere to the procedural formalities for Khadi mark certification which was discussed with the representatives of the private company.
The notice claimed that despite written assurances, Fabindia was still selling readymade garments from its outlets under the name of ‘Khadi’ and have also put up prominent Khadi display panels at their various sales outlets.
“Further, on visit to your outlets, it was found that readymade garments as Khadi are being sold from your several outlets. Photocopy of few such price tags and display panel at Bengaluru Airport c1ear1y indicate products being sold by Fabindia as Khadi”, the legal notice said.