Trade Wings Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra

Samiksha UniyalCase Summary

Jurisdictional court in case of defamation through email

Trade Wings Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra
(2011) 3 Mah LJ 407
In the High Court of Bombay
Cri. W.P. 2146, 2456/2009
Before Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice U D Salvi
Decided on September 20, 2010

Relevancy of the case: Jurisdictional court in case of defamation through email

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 66, 85)
  • The Constitution of India, 1950 (Article 21, 226)
  • The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Section 177, 178, 179, 182, 202, 482)
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 34, 110, 120B, 409, 468,471, 499, 500)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The petitioners filed a complaint in Mumbai against the respondent and five others on the grounds of criminal breach of trust, forgery and using the forged document. Subsequently, the Magistrate has issued the process in the complaint.
  • The respondent is the director of M/s Tulip Star Leisure & Health Resorts Ltd. Moreover, his wife is a shareholder in this company. Later, the respondent and his wife filed two counter-complaints against the petitioners in Hyderabad on the ground of publishing the defamatory e-mail.
  • The petitioners sent the alleged e-mail from Mumbai. On the other hand, respondents filed complaints in Hyderabad. Thereafter, the Magistrate issued the process in these complaints.
  • This writ petition challenges the order of the Magistrate to issue the process.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates

  • The petitioners’ counsel submitted that the complaint and the affidavit sworn by respondents do not prove the constitution of an offence under the Information Technology Act, 2000. Further, the e-mail does not contain defamatory content.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The Court does not have territorial jurisdiction to hear the matter. Also, the place of sending the e-mail is not relevant to determine the jurisdiction. The cause of action arose in Hyderabad as it is the place of email’s publication.
  • Therefore, the criminal court of Hyderabad has jurisdiction to hear the matter and issue the process. Therefore, the court did not provide any opinion on the alleged offences under Section 66 and 85 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Final Decision

  • The court held that this writ petition is not maintainable.