Vinod Kaushik & Anr v. Madhvika Joshi & Ors
In the Cyber Appellate Tribunal
Appeal No 2/2010
Before Justice Rajesh Tandon, Chairperson
Decided on June 29, 2011
Relevancy of the case: Applicability of CPC O I R 10(4) in the proceedings before an IT Adjudicator
Statutes & Provisions Involved
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 43, 65, 66E, 72, 85)
Relevant Facts of the Case
- The appellant is involved in trading of commodities such as Iron Ore, Chrome, Manganese, etc. and his son is married to the respondent.
- Appellant’s son started living separately after a frivolous complaint was filed by respondent at Ujjain, which later got transferred to Pune.
- Respondent shared 9 printouts of emails and chat messages between the appellant and his son.
- Appellants contended that since they deal with the international community, they frequently change their passwords and do not share the same with anybody.
- After the above-mentioned printouts were received by appellants, they filed an application with the IT Adjudicator of Maharashtra against the respondent and her associates for illegal hacking, unauthorized access and tampering of chat messages and claimed damages of ₹50 lakh for monetary as well as reputational losses.
- Using these printouts, the police kept the appellant’s son for eight days in custody thereby severely affecting appellants’ business opportunities as his passport was detained.
- The complaint was dismissed by Maharashtra IT Adjudicator and hence the appellants have appealed to the Cyber Appellate Tribunal.
Prominent Arguments by the Advocates
- Respondents contended that the appellant’s son is an adult and he can file an application in his personal capacity, which has not been the case. Appellant and his son are two distinct individuals and the nature of the relief sought will also be entirely different.
- Appellants argued that a suit cannot be dismissed merely on the ground that there has been non-joinder or misjoinder of parties under Order I Rule 10(4), the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 as the Court has the power to implead parties as necessary.
Opinion of the Bench
- The learned IT Adjudicator should have given a reasonable opportunity to the appellant’s son as this case significantly affects him.
- After an application for impleadment is filed, all the parties shall be given a reasonable opportunity to present their evidence and prove their claims.
- Appellant’s son was directed to file an application before the Maharashtra IT Adjudicator.
- The Adjudicating Officer shall hear the matter afresh and on the basis of the observations made by this tribunal.
- The appeal was subsequently allowed with parties to bear their own costs.