Ajay Pal Sharma Versus Udaiveer Singh
Court / Forum : Delhi High Court
Citation : CS(OS)139/2020
Coram : Justice C. Hari Shankar
Subject : Section 19 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (“CPC”)
Date of Decision : 2020-07-28
- The suit was filed by the Plaintiff claiming damages for a tweet uploaded by the Defendant on his Twitter handle, which, Plaintiff alleged, was defamatory.
- he Plaintiff submitted that the man, shown standing in the photograph accompanying the tweet, resembled him, though, in reality, it was not him. This fact, coupled with the reference, in the tweet, to an “Uchh Police Adhikari” (a high ranking police officer) and the comments, which the tweet had invited, which specifically named the Plaintiff, have resulted in his defamation at the hands of the Defendant, entitling him to injunction and damages.
- The Defendant relied upon the principle laid down in Escorts Limited v. Tejpal Singh Sisodia [2019 SCC OnLine (Del) 7607] and contended that the suit was bad for want of territorial jurisdiction as the Defendant was residing and carrying on his business in Uttar Pradesh. The Delhi High Court in the said case has held that
“Wrong of defamation on social media platform/internet cannot be said to have done across the globe or across the country, permitting a plaintiff to choose jurisdiction of a Court, contest wherein would cause maximum harassment to the defendant, compelling the defendant to give in to the demand of the plaintiff, even if unreasonable”.
- Whether the Delhi High Court has jurisdiction to entertain the present suit in light of the principle laid down in Escorts Limited?
- The Hon'ble High Court relying upon Escorts Limited held that in the case of defamation, over the internet or over a public media platform, where the jurisdiction of a Court, within whose jurisdiction neither the plaintiff not the defendant resides, is being sought to be invoked, the plaint has to necessarily contain specific pleas of wrong done within the jurisdiction of that Court, by giving particulars of the persons in that jurisdiction, in whose esteem the plaintiff claims to have fallen and/or the loss or damage suffered.
- The court also observed that if the wrong was done within the jurisdiction of various Courts, one of which is the Court within whose jurisdiction the defendant resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain, the suit would necessarily have to be instituted in that Court. In such an event, it is not open to the plaintiff to contend that, as the wrong was also done within the jurisdiction of another Court, he could sue within such jurisdiction. As the cause of action has arisen, inter alia, in the State of Uttar Pradesh, where the defendant resides and therefore, the courts in Uttar Pradesh have jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
- The Hon'ble High Court was not convinced on the aspect of jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the suit and hence, dismissed the application under Order 39 Rule 1 and of CPC.
Vipul Ganda is a Delhi based Advocate practicing largely at the Delhi High Court. His practice focus is Dispute Resolution and Litigation and his practice areas include Arbitration, Commercial, Civil, Constitutional, Corporate and Criminal Litigation.