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Delhi HC Orders Blocking of Websites Promoting Fraudulent ‘Work from Home’ Opportunities

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Delhi High Court Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: September 20, 2022 at 22:42 IST

The Delhi High Court has ordered the immediate blocking of a bogus website with the domain name “https://india-mart.co/” that has been tricking the public by promising work-from-home positions in exchange for a fee upon application.

Indiamart, a Business-To-Business (B2B) platform offering an internet-based marketplace with free and paid listings for the promotion of industry, products, and services, received an ex-prate ad interim injunction from Justice Pratibha Singh.

The Court noted that by misrepresenting itself as an Indiamart representative and accepting payments in exchange for job possibilities, the defendant’s website is obviously engaging in passing off and fraudulent conduct.

“It is clear to the Court that Defendant No.1 is completely passing off and indulging in fraudulent activity by showcasing himself as the Plaintiff/Plaintiff’s representative and collecting various sums of money by allegedly offering job opportunities,” the Court noted.

Indiamart had effectively established a prima facie case for the granting of an injunction, the court said.

“If the activities of Defendant No.1 are not nipped in the bud, irreparable injury would be caused not only to the Plaintiff, but also to public at large that may be deceived by the fraudulent activities of Defendant No.1,” the order stated.

The Court therefore prohibited the defendant’s website from using the mark, name, or domain name “INDIAMART” or any other marks, names, or domain names that are identical or confusingly/deceptively similar, until the next date of hearing.

The Court further mandated that the fraudulent website be immediately blocked, and that the domain name https://india-mart.co/ be locked and suspended.

The Court further ordered GoDaddy, the domain name registrant, to record the information regarding the person who registered the domain name within a week.

The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Cyber Crime Unit, was further instructed to look into the situation and submit a status report before the next hearing date.

The defendant’s bank account will be immediately frozen, the Union Bank of India’s attorney promised the court.

The next hearing on the subject is scheduled for September 27, 2022.

Indiamart alleged that the defendant, Sameer Samim Khan, had launched a website with the domain name “https://india-mart.co/” and was providing jobs on it in an illegal manner while using the “Indiamart” mark and name.

It was claimed that Khan was enticing credulous people to the aforementioned website by promising them “work from home” positions as part of “Indiamart’s Data Entry Project.”

It was also providing a number of programmes for the aforementioned purpose, which were available to anyone upon payment of application fees ranging from Rs. 899 to Rs. 1199.

Indiamart was represented by attorneys Sidharth Chopra, Nitin Sharma, Deepika, Naman Tandon, and Yatinder Garg.

Union Bank of India was represented by attorney Nazia Parveen.

The Delhi Police was represented by attorney Hetu Arora Sethi, and the Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations (IFSO) of the Delhi Police was represented by attorney Raman Lamba.