Abhinav Gupta v. JCB India Limited & Ors

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Abhinav Gupta v. JCB India Limited & Ors

Abhinav Gupta v. JCB India Limited and Ors
In the High Court of New Delhi
Appeal No. 488/2008, 489/2008
Before Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Valmiki J. Mehta
Decided on September 1, 2010

Relevancy of the case: Conflict between O VII R 11 CPC and Section 43 of the IT Act, 2000

Statutes & Provisions involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 43, 46, 61, 66)
  • The Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (Order VII Rule 11)

Relevant Facts of the Case
The plaintiff/respondent in the current case is a company with the largest equipment manufacturer w.r.t. construction and machinery who used to sell the products under the name of JCB and its logo. Defendant/Appellant in the current case worked as a design manager in the respondent’s company. According to the terms and conditions, he wasn’t authorized to enclose the confidential information, drawings, design plans pertaining to the respondent’s company.
Gradually, he left this Company and joined a competitor company named Escorts Construction Equipment Limited.
The Appellant had allegedly misappropriated and misutilized the confidential data, design, secrets and related information from the Plaintiff Company by transmitting such information from his official mail id to personal mail id. The unauthorised access violates Section 43 of The IT Act, 2000 and also breaches the copyright and confidential information. The appellant has filed an application under Order under O VII R 11 on the ground that it is barred under the provisions of the IT Act, 2000.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates
The counsel for the appellants argued that if a particular cause of action is barred by the IT Act, it doesn’t mean that plaint has to be rejected as it can cover reliefs pertaining to the other cause of actions like injunction for infringing copyright and injunction for the re-delivery of confidential information, etc. The counsel for the appellant also contended that the reliefs claimed in the suit were collateral or supplementary to the reliefs claimed for violation of the IT Act.

Opinion of the Bench
The Judge observed the lack of jurisdiction of the civil court as the remedies in such a case is covered under the IT Act, 2000. Not barring the use of CPC in such a situation of conflict with the special act would be disregard and violation of that Act. Also, the reliefs claimed under CPC were dependent on the main relief claimed under the IT Act. So, there was no point in proceeding through a plaint or staying this suit, thus it was liable to be rejected.

The appeals were dismissed on the grounds of being meritless.

Personal Opinion
The court should have granted an injunction under the Copyright Act.

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