Mont Blanc stops selling ‘Gandhi pen’
German luxury giant Mont Blanc, whose limited edition ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ pens ran into controversy for their pricing which was counter to his philosophy rooted in simplicity, has assured the Kerala High Court that it will not sell the product till further court orders.
Appearing before a bench of acting Chief Justice P R Raman and Justice C N Ramachandran Nair, counsel Praveen Anand for Montblanc International GmBH (based in Hamburg, Germany) submitted that his clients had authorised him “to undertake in court that Mahatma Gandhi limited edition pens will not be sold until further orders from this court.”
This was in response to a PIL by Dijo Kappen, the managing trustee of a Kottayam-based consumer rights organisation — Centre for Consumer Education. The PIL requested the court to prohibit marketing and sale of Mahatma Gandhi Limited Edition 241 and Mahatma Gandhi Limited Edition 3000, which use name and pictorial representation of the Father of the Nation. The luxury pens cost Rs 14 lakh a piece.
Kappen claimed that the manufacturer’s action violated Section 3 of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act. “Mahatma Gandhi is… considered the epitome of simplicity. Making him a symbol of a Rs 14-lakh pen is nothing but an attempt to degrade everything that he symbolised,” the petitioner had charged.