TDSAT allows Veecon Media to use Tiranga TV name, logo minus saffron, green colors

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has allowed Veecon Media & Broadcasting to use the name and logo of Tiranga TV without the colours saffron and green.

The broadcaster had moved TDSAT to direct the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) to take on record its request for changing the name and logo of its news channel from Harvest TV to Tiranga TV.

Veecon had also contended that there is no requirement to seek approval from the MIB for change of name and logo of TV channels atleast for cases where there is no change in directorship and shareholding.

It also argued that the only action performed by the MIB is merely a ministerial/administrative act of taking on record the changed name and logo.

The tribunal found the MIB’s letter dated 27th March as correct in respect of name and logo as the first choice but struck down other choices so as to allow Veecon the permission to use the name ad logo of Tiranga TV.

The bench of TDSAT chairperson SK Singh and member AK Bhargava noted that in the present case the logo includes as the name “Tiranga” which is overwhelmingly associated by all Indians with the Indian National Flag but still the law does not prohibit use of the name “Tiranga” and it has not been included in the Schedule.

It further stated that the three colours, Saffron, White and Green in that order are also readily associated by the Indians with the colours of the Indian National Flag but use of these colours by itself is not prohibited by the Schedule under the Act of 1950.

It also noted that colourable imitation of certain emblems and names is prohibited. The bench mentioned that combination of the word “Tiranga” and the three colours of the Indian National Flag do conjure an image of the Indian National Flag and the similarities created by such a logo can be treated as a colourable imitation of the Indian National Flag.

“Therefore, the impugned decision so far as it refuses permission to the petitioner to use its first choice or option cannot be faulted,” it said in the order.

The tribunal also stated that applying the same principles to the logo of the second option which does not have the colours of the Indian National Flag i.e. Saffron and Green, it has no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that it has absolutely no ingredient which in total effect can amount to a colourable imitation of the Indian National Flag. The same applies to the other two choices and options which are choices in descending order.

“In such a situation, we have no option but to hold and declare that the impugned decision contained in order/letter dated 27.03.2019 is bad in law in refusing to allow the petitioner the use of name and logo of “Tiranga TV” opted by the petitioner as its second choice/option which was introduced by an amendment along with two other choices. It is this second choice/option which is without the colours of the Indian National Flag along with the name “Tiranga TV” which is presently being used by the petitioner under the orders of this Tribunal,” the tribunal’s order reads.

In conclusion, the order stated, “In the light of discussions made above, the impugned letter/decision dated 27.03.2019 is found correct in respect of name and logo opted as first choice/option but struck-down/set aside in respect of other choices, so as to permit the petitioner the use of name and logo of “Tiranga TV” without the colours. Saffron and Green (given as a choice/option having second highest priority as per the amended application dated 22.02.2019). The petition is allowed to the aforesaid extent. There shall be no order as to costs.”