The Karnataka High Court has quashed and set aside the criminal case registered against founders of Unocoin company for setting up a Bitcoin ATM in Bengaluru in the year 2018.
A single-judge bench of Justice H P Sandesh quashed and set aside the case registered against B V Harish and Sathvik Vishwanath who were charged by the Cybercrime police on October 23, 2018.
The accused were charged by the police based on the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India dated April 6, 2018. By the said circular the RBI had imposed restrictions on regulated entities such as banks and NBFCs from dealing with virtual currencies and from providing services to crypto businesses.
Advocate Jaideep Reddy a/w Advocate Cyril Prasad Pais appearing for the accused relied on the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in the case of Internet and Mobile Association of India vs Reserve Bank of India, (2020) 10 SCC 274 in which the apex court has set aside the circular with regard to prohibition of virtual currencies. The public prosecutor also agreed with the submission made.
Following which the court said "Looking into the principles laid down by the Hon'ble Apex court in Internet and Mobile Association of India's case, referred (supra) wherein the Hon'ble apex court has categorically held that the circular dated April 6, 2018 issued by the Reserve Bank of India is liable to be set aside. IN the case on hand also, proceedings have been initiated against the petitioners based on the circular dated April 6, 2018 and when the very circular dated April 6, 2018, issued by the Reserve Bank of India is set aside by the Hon'ble Apex court and when the proceedings initiated against these petitioners on the strength of Annexure-B (RBI Circular), the very proceedings initiated against these petitioners is liable to be set aside."
Accordingly, it ordered "The writ petition is allowed. The registration of FIR and the charge sheet filed against these petitioners are hereby quashed. Consequently the proceedings initiated against the petitioners is quashed."
Case Title: B V Harish And State Of Karnataka.
Case no: Writ Petition no 18910/2019
Date of order: February 8, 2021.
Coram: Justice H P Sandesh.
Appearance: Advocate Jaideep Reddy a/w Advocate Cyril Prasad Pais for petitioner.
Advocate Namitha Mahesh B G for respondent.