Vishal H. Shah v. State of Jharkhand

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Vishal H. Shah v. State of Jharkhand

Vishal H. Shah v. State of Jharkhand
In the High Court of Jharkhand
Cr. M.P. 2059/2015
Before Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay
Decided on January 18, 2016

Relevancy of the case: Petition to quash proceedings in a case involving sending of fake emails

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 66A, 66D, 67)
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Section 239, 482)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • An email was sent by an unknown person in the name of Dr Vijay Nath and Dr R.K. Lal to a Head of the Department at an institution, regarding the standards of a workshop offered by the Department and competence of the teachers associated. An enquiry found out the IP address and name associated with the email thereby registering an F.I.R. against them.
  • The informant forwarded the email to a C.I.D. officer and it was found that the number associated with the e-mail ID belonged to the petitioner. Accordingly, a charge sheet based on this was filed before the Judicial Magistrate.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates

  • The petitioner’s counsel submitted that a discharge application was filed before the lower court, and the petitioner was discharged for the offence under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 but charges were framed under Sections 66A and 66D of the same. He claimed that the petitioner was implicated at the insistence of two colleagues. Also, the IP address, according to the petitioner’s enquiry, is not valid and belongs to a private network of California, USA. The entire matter could’ve been verified by the service provider, i.e., Google and yet, without verifying the facts, a charge-sheet was filed against the petitioner. Further, he said that Section 66A had been struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional and a case under Section 66D wasn’t made out against the petitioner. So, since no prima-facie case was made out against the petitioner, the entire proceedings shall be quashed.
  • The respondent’s counsel submitted that the court, under Section 239 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, should not look at whatever has been submitted by the petitioner, as it is with respect to the defence in the case. Further, he bought to the court’s notice that the petitioner had also submitted an unqualified apology saying his number had been misused for the fake email.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The Court noticed that it hadn’t been stated if the lower court had passed a fresh order upon remand by the Gigh Court. If an order had been passed pursuant to the remand petition, the petitioner should have brought that on record. However, if it hadn’t, it would be premature for the court to pass an order since the matter was already sub-judice in the lower court.
  • Since the petitioner had taken recourse to Section 239, it was presumed by the court that the lower court issued an order on remand (unless there would be a statement on the contrary). Thus, the court could not allow the petitioner parallel proceedings and quash the entire criminal proceedings.

Final Decision

  • The application was dismissed.

This case summary has been prepared by Akshita Rohatgi, an undergraduate student at University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGSIPU, during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in January/February 2021.