A controversy has erupted over the use of Mahatma Gandhi's name and image by Swiss luxury giant Mont Blanc for a Rs 14 lakh pen since the apostle of peace was known for simplicity throughout his life.
The limited edition 'Gandhi' pen was launched here by Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of the Father of the Nation, on September 29.
But two days later, the Kerala High Court admitted a public interest litigation challenging the marketing of the luxury pens in India while issuing notices to Mont Blanc International, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affair and others.
The petitioner, Dijo Kapen of the Centre of Consumer Education, Kottayam, contended that the attempt to manufacture and market luxury pens in the name of the Mahatma was wrong, illegal and liable to be prohibited.
He submitted that entry 9A of the schedule of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, states that the name or pictorial representation of Gandhi as an item cannot be used for the purpose of any trade or business under provision of the Act.
Kapen contended that making Gandhi the symbol of a Rs 14 lakh pen was nothing but an attempt to cause degeneration of everything that he symbolised and mock at the middle class and those below the poverty line who look up to him.
However, Tushar Gandhi has expressed surprise at those opposing the venture and said the Mahatma's image has been used in advertising for long.