NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has observed that a court cannot rely on Facebook posts to determine a person’s location at a particular point of time. “Postings on Facebook cannot be treated as determinative of the location of a person at a particular point of time, at least by a court. Even if a court is to take an adverse view in that regard, the Counsel ought to be given an opportunity to explain the position before such a view is taken,” Justice C Hari Shankar said in an order.
The court’s observation came while dealing with the lawyer’s petition challenging an adverse order passed against him by the IPAB for a ‘deliberate, wrong, irresponsible representation’ to seek an adjournment in a case. During the pandemic, it was submitted that he was in quarantine, however, his Facebook posts showed that he has been travelling for a ‘holiday’ and locations shown were Tirupati, Rameswaram, Madurai and Marina Beach in Chennai.
The present plea was challenging an order passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), which imposed costs on two lawyers who had sought adjournment in the case as the lead counsel was quarantined. Justice C Hari Shankar noted that the lead counsel, Suwarn Raj Chauhan, was indeed quarantined and had passed away in April 2021.
Accordingly, it was held by the court that “Even otherwise, in my considered opinion, before taking an adverse view against the Counsel on the basis of a Facebook post, and referring the matter to the Bar Council of India, the learned IPAB ought, at the very least, to have given an opportunity to the Counsel to explain the circumstances.”
The court quashed and set aside the order of the IPAB and allowed the petition.