Christopher Selvin S. v. State of Tamil Nadu

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Petition to quash the Final Report in a case involving publishing false articles about TASMAC selling liquor online

Christopher Selvin S. & Ors. v. State of Tamil Nadu
In the High Court of Madras
Crl. O.P. 4235/2021 and Crl. M.P. 2689/2021
Before Justice Sunder Mohan
Decided on March 30, 2023

Relevancy of the Case: Petition to quash the Final Report in a case involving publishing false articles about TASMAC selling liquor online

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 66D)
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 420)
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Section 482)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The first and second petitioners run a website called¬†FreshersLive. The third petitioner is one of the content writers of this website.
  • They published false articles on how to order liquor online through TASMAC. TASMAC is a government-owned company.
  • The respondent’s final investigation report shows that the petitioners received significant website traffic from the viewers clicking on their links.
  • Therefore, the police has filed a case against them for intentionally impersonating government and spreading false news for personal benefits.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates

  • The petitioners’ argued that they only intended to educate the public about TASMAC. Additionally, the article did not provide any wrongful gain. Further, when they learned that they gave a false impression of personating the government, they took down the article. Moreover, the government was solely targeting the petitioners and no other similar websites.
  • The respondent’s counsel submitted that the petitioners were the first to publish the content. Moreover, they gave the public a false impression that TASMAC was selling liquor online and profited from it.

Opinion of the Bench

  • Although they published a false article, their conduct does not constitute the offences alleged in the State’s Final Report.
  • There was no injury caused to the general public. Hence, the offence of cheating is not made out.
  • Moreover, no existing legal remedies are available in criminal law on this subject matter. TASAC should have resorted to civil law.

Final Decision

  • The court allowed the petition and quashed the Final Report.

Nikita D’Lima, an undergraduate student at NMIMS School of Law, Navi Mumbai, prepared this case summary during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in May/June 2023.