The Delhi High Court has pulled up renowned coaching institute FIIT-JEE for not willing to settle the claims of an IIT-joint entrance exam topper, who has sought damages of over Rs 5 crore from the institute for allegedly misusing his name and achievements in its promotional advertisements. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw was hearing the suit filed by 2009 IIT-JEE topper Nitin Jain seeking Rs 5.85 crore as damages from the coaching institute for luring students for admission by misusing his videos and photos and thereby breaching his and his family’s right to privacy.
“Do you have an intent to settle the matter? What is the proposal,” the judge asked FIIT-JEE, which refused to settle the issue or pay damages to Nitin, who is presently working with Google in San Francisco, USA. The court then said, “You neither have the intent to settle the matter, nor any control over cheating. Did you ever pay him anything or promise to pay for flashing his photographs in national dailies?”
The high court, which had in 2011 restrained FITJEE from using his name or photographs for any commercial gain, posted the matter for hearing on August 31. The institute has denied all the allegations and claimed that Nitin was not entitled to any damages.
Nitin, who also topped AIEEE in 2009, won the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) in 2007 and three gold medals in three international science olympiads held in Indonesia, Mexico and Iran in 2008-09, has also alleged that the coaching institute gave his photos to porn sites as well.
The plea has alleged that the coaching institute used his name, achievements, photographs without his permission and despite repeated objections orally as well as in writing and legal notices, it did not stop. He has sought damages for breach of their right to privacy as well as damage to their reputation.
According to the petition, Nitin was earlier denied admission in FIIT-JEE as he was late with his application. However, he got in with a payment of late fee in 2007. It claimed that the officials of FIIT-JEE, who were initially doubtful of admitting him, started encashing his achievement after he topped the entrance exam and claimed his hard work as the institute’s success. “Just two days before the announcement of IIT-JEE results on May 25, 2009, FIIT-JEE recorded a video of the plaintiff and his family in which they were asked to speak in favour of the institute. The plaintiffs did not know that the video would later be advertised through various media channels for its publicity,” the suit said.
“It also came to the knowledge of the plaintiffs that the video was displayed on various porn sites which could not be possible without the institute’s permission. It said that whole video was distorted and edited for unlawful gains by FIIT-JEE,” the suit said. The family has alleged that they were cheated and their innocence was misused for commercial benefits and profits which was not only illegal but unethical.