The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed criminal proceedings against Baazee.com’s senior manager Sharat Babu Digumarti in DPS-MMS scam. Justice Dipak Mishra and Justice PC Pant set aside the Delhi High Court judgment against him, holding that the high court has fallen into error that though charge has not been made out under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, yet he could be proceeded under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code.
He was accused of selling through the baazee.com website video clips of two Delhi school children indulging in sex. Criminal proceedings against managing director of the company Avnish Bajaj, who was also an accused in the same case, was quashed by Supreme Court in 2012.
In this case, the Supreme Court examined whether the appellant, who has been discharged under Section 67 of the IT Act, could be proceeded under Section 292 IPC.
It is not disputed that the appellant was the senior manager of the company (intermediary) and the managing director of the company (intermediary) had been discharged of all the offences as per the decision in Aneeta Hada case and further that the singular charge that has been framed against the appellant is in respect of Section 292 IPC.
AM Singhvi, who appeared for the appellant, said that he could not have been proceeded under Section 292 IPC after having been discharged under Section 67 of the IT Act.
Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that Section 67 of the IT Act was a special provision and it would override Section 292 IPC. He made a distinction between the offences referable to the internet and the offences referable to print/conventional media or whatever is expressed in Section 292 IPC.
“It is apt to note here that electronic form of transmission is covered by the IT Act, which is a special law. It is settled position in law that a special law shall prevail over the general and prior laws.”
Allowing the appeal, the bench held that once the special provisions having the overriding effect do cover a criminal act and the offender, he gets out of the net of the IPC and in this case, Section 292.
Read the Judgment here.