Ramesh Rajagopal v. Devi Polymers Private Limited
(2016) 6 SCC 310
In the Supreme Court of India
Criminal Appeal no. 133 of 2016
Before Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Amitava Roy
Decided on April 19, 2016
Relevancy of the case: Authority of a company’s director to access and edit company website.
Statutes & Provisions Involved
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 43, 65, 66)
- The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 409, 468, 471, 120-B)
- Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Section 482)
Relevant Facts of the Case
- Appellant is a director in Devi Polymers Private Limited, Chennai. The company has three units A, B and C. Appellant is the head of unit C which renders consultancy services.
- For improving Consultancy Services, the appellant contacted consultant Michael T. Jackson along with few other consultants of the company. As per the suggestion received from all the consultants, a webpage by the name Devi Consultancy Services was created.
- Respondent initiated the instant criminal complaint against the appellant. The main base of this complaint was that the website for Devi Consultancy Services is shown as a separate division, independent of Devi Polymers Private Limited. According to the complaint, this has resulted in forgery since there is no such thing as Devi Consultancy Services, though, the existence of unit C of Devi Polymers Private Limited which deals with consultancy is not denied.
- The High Court dismissed the petition under section 482 of CrPC on the ground that it requires evidence at trial to come to any conclusion.
Opinion of the Bench
- None of the facts can lead to the inference of commission of an offence under the IPC. As far as the website is concerned Devi Consultancy Services (DCS) is undoubtedly mentioned but it is made clear that it is a party of Devi Polymers Pvt. Ltd. So, it is not possible to view this act as an act of forgery.
- The appellant was a director of Devi Polymers and hence had the authority to access the computer network of the company, therefore, no offence is committed under Section 66 r/w 43 of the IT Act. The allegation is not that any computer source code has been concealed, destroyed or altered; hence Section 65 is not applicable. In these circumstances, no case is made out under Sections 65 and 66 of the IT Act 2000.
- There has been an abuse of the process of the court and it is necessary to meet the ends of justice. The Appeal succeeds and the prosecution is quashed.