The Khadi and Village Industries Commission has sent a legal notice to ethnic wear retailer Fabindia, demanding Rs 525 crore in damages for allegedly “illegally” using its trademark charkha, and selling clothes with the khadi tag, PTI reported on Tuesday.
The Khadi commission is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. It issued the notice on January 29, and asked Fabindia to respond in seven days from the time it receives the notice or face legal action, the Hindustan Times reported.
The commission has taken issue with Fabindia using the word khadi on its price tags. The notice said the retailer was “misleading consumers by selling factory-made cotton garments spun in mechanised charkhas, or spinning wheels, as khadi”, its lawyer said.
The commission wants Fabindia to surrender all stock marked as “khadi” or “charkha”, and hand over its inventory and accounts for the past three years. It also wants an “unconditional apology”.
Fabindia, however, said the notice and allegations were “baseless” and denied any wrongdoing. A spokesperson for the retailer said the company was “surprised” at the contents of the notice. “We have made it clear to KVIC through extensive correspondence and in multiple meetings over the last two years that Fabindia is not in violation of any of the provisions of the KVIC Act or regulations framed thereunder,” the spokesperson said.
The government’s Khadi Mark Regulations Act, 2013, says no product can be sold as khadi without a Khadi Mark certificate. The Khadi committee first issued a notice to Fabindia in 2015, saying the retail chain had not applied for the certificate. The commission had sent two more notices over the next two years.