The Mumbai-based organisation headed by activist Sumaira Abdulali was registered in 2008.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court has restrained the Thane-based Awaaj foundation from using the name ‘Awaaj’ as it sounds similar to the Mumbai-based Awaaz Foundation on the grounds that it could lead to misuse of the name and create confusion among the people as the Thane-based organisation purports to carry out activities similar to the Mumbai-based organisation.
The Mumbai-based organisation headed by activist Sumaira Abdulali was registered in 2008 and has been working on issues related to noise and environment pollution issues since 2005 while the Thane-based organisation was set up in 2016.
Justice K.K. Tated was hearing a notice of motion filed by Mumbai-based Awaaz Foundation seeking restraining orders against the Thane-based Awaaj Foundation from using the name as phonetically it sounded similar and was misleading. Senior advocate Dr V.T. Tulzapurkar while arguing for Awaaz informed the court that the NGO had been registered in 2008 under class 42 of the Trade Marks Act with the charity commissioner. He further said that the NGO had gained prominence and fame in India and abroad due to its activities, which the Thane-based organisation was trying to take advantage of, hence restraining orders were needed against them.
The counsel for the Thane-based organisation, however, argued that their organisation was registered under class 45 with the charity commissioner and hence there was nothing wrong in they using the name, as there was a difference of an alphabet in the name.
After hearing both sides, the court held that as class 43,44 and 45 were introduced in 2010, the Mumbai-based organisation had registered in the available class but that could not make the Thane-based organisation use the name. The court while restraining the Thane organisation from using the name anymore allowed them till June, 2018 to use the name so that they may affect changes in bank accounts and other places they had registered the name Awaaj.