Indian Judge to Decide Moti Mahal vs Daryaganj Dispute on Butter Chicken Origins
Indian Judge to Decide Moti Mahal vs Daryaganj Dispute on Butter Chicken Origins

According to a Reuters report, Butter chicken, a globally renowned Indian dish, is not only delicious but also the center of a legal dispute between two Indian restaurant chains, each asserting ownership claims over its origins.

The legal battle, gaining significant attention in India was initiated by the family associated with Moti Mahal, a renowned Delhi restaurant brand that has hosted notable figures such as late U.S. President Richard Nixon and India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The lawsuit alleges that the founder of the restaurant, Kundan Lal Gujral, crafted the curry in the 1930s during the initial opening of the restaurant in Peshawar, before later relocating to Delhi.

In a comprehensive 2,752-page legal document, the Moti Mahal family has filed a lawsuit against the rival chain Daryaganj, accusing it of making false claims about inventing both the butter chicken and dal makhani, a well-liked lentil dish rich in butter and cream.

The Gujral family is pursuing $240,000 in compensation, claiming that Daryaganj not only imitated the layout of Moti Mahal's website but also replicated the overall ambiance of its restaurants, alleging infringement on both digital and physical aspects.

You cannot diminish someone's legacy. The dish was created during our grandfather's time in Pakistan," stated Monish Gujral, who serves as the managing director at Moti Mahal.

Daryaganj, a relatively new establishment founded in 2019, rebuts the claims by asserting that their late family member, Kundan Lal Jaggi, collaborated with Gujral to launch the Delhi restaurant in 1947, and it was at that location that the dish was originally created. This, according to Daryaganj, provides them with the legitimacy to stake a claim to the invention of the dish.

Daryaganj provided Reuters with a weathered, handwritten partnership document dated 1949 as evidence supporting its stance.

The controversy has seized the nation's interest, with Indian television channels featuring segments on the dish's history and discussions raging across social media platforms.

Ameet Datta, an intellectual property lawyer at Saikrishna & Associates in India, commented, "It's an unusual and distinctive case. Determining the originator of the first serving of butter chicken is quite challenging. The court will face difficulties and may have to depend on indirect evidence."

Datta emphasized that testimonies from individuals who can establish a connection between the restaurant brand and the dish they consumed many years ago could serve as crucial evidence.


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