High Court directs registration of FIR against Facebook, others

High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar (GK File Photo: Mubashir Khan)

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the Cyber Cell Police to register an FIR on a complaint against Facebook and other accused related to an alleged online fraud loan offer.

While disposing of a petition by one Vivek Sagar of Pacca Danga Jammu against the order of Special Railway Magistrate Jammu, a bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur directed the Incharge Cyber Cell to register the FIR.

The petitioner through Advocate Deepak Sharma submitted before the court that after he was cheated through an advertisement on Facebook and duped of Rs 20,700 by an online fraudster he had approached the Jammu and Kashmir Cyber Police Cell with a compliant that he had been trapped by the accused including Facebook, Bajaj Finance, Quadrant Televentures, and others who  “ripped of” his hard earned money by  making the use of internet and SMS Communication services and thereby committing the offence under relevant sections of the IPC and IT Act, 2000.

The petitioner said on August 9, 2020 when he was surfing Facebook he got a loan offer from Bajaj Finance on the sponsored category page of Facebook and finally the accused person became successful in trapping him to accept the loan offer.

The petitioner submitted before the court that after the Cyber Police did not take any action on his complaint, he approached Special Railway Magistrate Jammu under section 156(3) CrPC seeking direction for registration of FIR against the accused.

He further submitted that the Magistrate observed that ex facie the cognizable offences were found to have been committed and directed the SSP Crime Branch Jammu to look into the allegations and if some cognizable offence was found to have been committed by the accused persons, then only, an FIR be registered and investigation carried out.

“If the Magistrate was satisfied that cognizable offences were on the face of it had been committed then there was no occasion for him to to leave it open to the Police to look into the allegations to determine as to whether the cognizable offences had been committed or not” the petitioner said.

While setting aside the order of the magistrate, the court held that the order to the extent it left the issue of registration of FIR to the wisdom of the official respondents was bad in law.

“The Incharge Cyber Cell would register an FIR and the same shall be investigated by the concerned Branch dealing with the Cyber offences,” the court said.