Civil Procedure and the Internet

The Delhi High Court in the case of Frank Finn Management Consultants v. Subhash Motwani and Another (CS(OS) 367/2002) determined the scope of its jurisdiction under Section 19 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 while making reference to the availability of the publication on the internet. The case concerned a suit for damages publishing libelous information. The defendant’s argument was that since the publication of the libelous material did not occur in the forum hence it did not have jurisdiction within the meaning of Section 19. The court interpreting section 19 held that, “publication in the sense of a libel is not the mechanical act of printing of the magazine but is of communication of the libelous article”. In reaching the conclusion that it had jurisdiction. It held that, “…growing number of readers prefer to read newspapers and magazines via internet rather than in hard form. By putting the magazine on the internet, the magazine cannot be said to be for circulation within Mumbai only and is concluded to be having circulation all over India.”

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