Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006


Group Sites

Home Page - Security
Info-Tech - E-Mail
Corporate - Courts/Legal Issues

Indian `John Doe' sued

Kripa Raman

HC admits IT firm Integrix case against defamatory e-mail sender

Unnamed defendants
The number one defendant is an e-mail address:
Integrix allowed to sue an IP address number.
The actual allottee of the IP Address is the equivalent of John Doe.

Mumbai , March 28

The Delhi High Court has admitted a petition introducing for the first time in Indian jurisprudence the equivalent of the American concept of `John Doe' in information technology related litigation.

Early this month it allowed IT networking solutions company Integrix (India) Pvt Ltd to sue a person in his unknown identity.

Integrix went to court saying its employees had received anonymous e-mails which it said were defamatory and damaging to the company and its directors.

The number one defendant in this case is, the e-mail address from where the offending mails were received. The others sued are (e-mail service provider) and Bharti Infotel (network/internet service provider).

What is significant, say cyberlaw experts, is that the plaintiff has been allowed to sue an IP address number - in this case `IP address number, C/o Bharti Infotel' as well as `Actual Allottee/user of the same IP address, Son of Unknown, C/o Bharti Infotel'.

The actual allottee of the IP Address is the equivalent of John Doe.

"I have never come across, in India, a defendant who is unnamed. If the Court actually passes an order that is enforced then that would be very significant in Indian jurisprudence," said Mr Lekhesh Dholakia, legal counsel for Internet & Mobile Association of India.

The John Doe concept is popular in the US where victims of cyberstalking or defamation file lawsuits against "John Does".

With the help of the courts they seek to obtain discovery from the Internet Service Providers/Network Service Providers of the true identity of the John Does who have been sued.

The DHC in this case has issued notices to (Yahoo! India Web Services Ltd) as well as to broadband services provider Bharti Infotel not to delete the log in respect of the e-mails forming the subject matter of the suit, as well as to block the IP address in question.

Litigation has so far been handicapped by the absence of identity of the person sued, and how this case proceeds could set a precedent for other cyberlaw cases in India, according to cyberlaw experts.

The case is important also because it is getting increasingly difficult to get FIRs registered in cybercrime cells of the police, they said. Unsolved crimes reflect badly on the officer-in-charge and the police can make things so difficult that many of the aggrieved just give up the idea.

"This case is a great step forward; it establishes the right of the affected to zero down on the person actually doing the act," said Mr Pavan Duggal, counsel for the plaintiff, who would not discuss the case further.

Related Stories:
E-mail security solution
Cyber tribunal may be expanded
IT firms step up security

More Stories on : Security | E-Mail | Courts/Legal Issues

Article E-Mail :: Comment :: Syndication :: Printer Friendly Page

Stories in this Section
Reconstruction gathers pace in Bihar

iSoft's Lorenzo meets testing norms
A hill stands between Andhra fishermen, Gangavaram port
Genworth to launch mortgage guarantee project
Bhai Mohan Singh: Pioneer of pharma
Gartner sees growth in UWB devices
Chicken producers declare hatching holidays
Senior citizens savings scheme norms eased
Interest rate ceiling on FCNR (B) deposits hiked
Bankers meet Reddy, discuss tight liquidity
State Bank of Hyderabad IPO in next fiscal
Expansion is an ongoing process at Infosys, says Murthy
It is India's time in the limelight: Jhunjhunwala
Indian `John Doe' sued
Nortel, Bharti sign 5-year services deal

The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2006, The Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu Business Line