Rainy Jain, Amity University Jaipur
Yash Pathak, Prestige Institute of Management and Research
Radhi Kakhanna, Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA
Editor: Kanhaiya Singhal, Faculty of law, PES University
CITATION: CC No. 4680 of 2004 PETITIONER: State of Tamil Nadu RESPONDENT: Suhas Katti BENCH: Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore DATE OF JUDGMENT: 5th November 2004 FACTS OF THE CASE • The case, popularly known as Suhas Katti case, is about posting of offensive and defamatory messages over internet regarding a woman Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore who was divorced, in a Yahoo messenger group. The accused claimed to be one of the family friends of the victim. • The accused desired to marry the victim, Ms. Roselind, but she got married to someone else, which was extremely disappointing for him. After her divorce he tried to entice her yet again, but the woman turned him down. Infuriated and not being able to accept the rejection, he resorted to harassing the women by sharing her number and obscene messages on various groups with an intention of offending her and making people believe that she was soliciting. As a consequence, the victim started receiving numerous calls by people who believed that the woman was soliciting, which were bothersome and insulting her modesty. • The victim, for the purpose of sending such obscene messages on Yahoo groups, created a fake account in the name of Ms. Roselind, with intention of harming reputation of the victim. • Based on the above circumstances the victim filed a complaint in February, 2004, under section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, 469 and 509 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. On receiving the complaint, Police arrested the accused who happened to be victim’s friend from Mumbai. • Charges: a) Section 469- Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Forgery for purpose of harming reputation)
b) Section 509- Indian Penal Code, 1860 (word, gesture, act intended to insult modesty of a woman) c) Section 67 – Information Technology Act, 2000 (publication of submit on electronic mode that is against the will and is to cause defamation). ISSUES IN THE CASE • Whether the accused was liable for charges under section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, 469 and 509 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. DISCUSSION: CONTENTIONS BY BOTH THE PARTIES In this case the accused was found guilty under section 469 and 509 of Indian penal code and section 67 of IT Act. The victim was the divorced women and accused was the friend and classmate of the victim. The accused was the resident of Mumbai. This all starts when the victim opened her Rediff email and found of two obscene messages was send by the accused on 7.2.2004 and 9.2.2004. In which all the details of the victim were mentioned, and these details later shared by accused to 5 sex groups through yahoo website. By seeing this several persons tried to contact the victim by phone and by sending messages. The person considers her as a sex worker. The woman was married to Jaichand Prajapati of Uttar Pradesh in the year 2001. As the marriage turn into an unsuccessful marriage and obtained divorce through court in the year 2003. She realized about one of his classmates during her college day that once does the same thing. And he also expressed his desire to marry the victim. Even after the divorce when the accused stayed in the house of the victim for 10 days stating that he has to attend an interview at Bangalore. He again proposes her for marriage. But victim and her family refused the proposal. Then after he continuously was in the habit of calling, sending message, what makes victim really a kind of irritation or not founding it good so she blocked accused from everywhere. In the rage of which accused did this crime. SUHAS KATTI: Accused also stated that this all is done by the victim’s divorced husband Jaichand Prajapati. But the court doesn’t accept his theory of making anyone else accused of the crime done by self. He also said that this was a mere reaction against the rejection done by a victim with him. JUDGMENT Additional chief metropolitan magistrate on 05-11-2004 delivered the judgment: “under section 469 and, 509 of Indian penal court and section 67 of the information technology act the accused is found guilty for the offence done by him, and for which he must convicted and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 2 years, a fine of Rs. 500/- under section 469 of Indian penal code also for the offence under section 509 of Indian penal code accused is sentenced for 1 year of simple imprisonment with the fine Rs. 500. And under section 67 of the Information Technology Act 2000 the accused has to undergo for rigorous imprisonment of 2 years with the fine of Rs. 4000 /- The accused must have to pay the fine and imprisoned at central prison, Chennai. CONCLUSION
It is a well-established principle that the judgment should be based on the correct examination of the witnesses and the facts of a particular case and in the present case it should be well noted that the honorable judges has rightly decided the case which was filled under section 67 of Information Technology Act, 2000, section 509 and 469 of Indian Penal Code. The accused was correctly sentenced as his acts were not just against the law but also the morality, posting obscene material and talking ill about the women is shameful thing to do. It should be noted that in Indian society women are subjected to various criticism and had to face numerous sexual remarks and in that condition the accused posted such ‘obscene’ material in the cyber space which traumatized the petitioner and lowered her reputation. The petitioner had to go through unfavorable situations while living in the society which cannot be taken away from her. The court in this case has rightly interpreted the word ‘obscene’ as there is still no strict guidelines for the act to be obscene, Kerala High court in Sreekumar V. v. State of Kerala1 held that even if the word is abusive, unparliamentarily is not obscene unless it arouses the sexual feeling of the hearer, which definitely narrows the scope of the term ‘obscene’ and somehow restricts the court to serve justice. The present case also led the government to partially ban the pornography under section 67 of IT Act, 2000 which is still a disputed matter. In Jan hit Manch v. Union of India2, the petitioner filed the petition to direct the respondent to make some guidelines for the conviction of offender who post content related to sex and which affect the youth of the nation under section 67 of IT Act, 2020. The court in the present case has examined the expert witness with due diligence to reach the final verdict. The Information Technology (IT) rules were not that stringent back in 2004 but the honorable court has applied the rules in a very precise way to rightly punish the accused. The court has altogether provided a different direction for carrying out the proceedings on the similar matter in the near future. The court has also well applied the section 67 of IT Act, 2000 to serve the justice and punish the offender. IMPACT/SIGNIFICANCE The present case holds a lot of significance in the cyber world and there are various points that should be noted while reading the case which makes the case importance in itself. The present case was the first case to filled under section 67 of Information technology Act, 2000, legal
implications of posting obscene material came to the limelight stating that any kind of the offender be it cyber-criminal cannot be spared from his/her obligations. With the outstanding efficiency of Chennai Cyber Cell this case was solved within 7 months from filling of the case which holds an important place in itself because fast track solution of the problem is the need of this hour. This case inspired various women to come forward and talk about the same problems which they were going through as before this case it was embarrassing for the women to talk openly about the harassment which they were going through. People were made aware that there are rights can be secured in the cyber world too and people should have faith in the judiciary system. The most important aspect of the case is that for the first time the court introduced the validation of person as an ‘expert, and the admissibility of electronic evidence under section 65B of Indian Evidence Act. ‘Forgery’ of electronic evidence was also recognized as a crime after this case which holds a great utility till date.
This case enlightens various undiscovered path that can be taken by the courts to provide the justice in the area of cybercrimes and hence holds the significance in itself.
1 2019(2) KHC 693