The Delhi High Court has held that Facebook posts cannot be treated as determinative of the location of a person at a particular point of time.

The bench of Justice C. Hari Shankar made this observation in a matter where the Intellectual Property Appellate Board had passed an adverse order against an Advocate for allegedly falsely seeking adjournment.

An Adjournment petition was moved before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board informing that the counsel's office is closed due to covid-19. However the applicant before the Board pointed out that as per the Facebook page of the Advocate, he was at Marina Beach, Chennai.

The Board observed that it was falsely represented that the main counsel is in quarantine while it has been shown through the Facebook postings that the said Counsel is on a holiday.

Thus the Board had imposed a costs of Rs. 5000.

Advocate Prince Arora appeared for the petitioner whereas Advocate Siddharth Bambha appeared for Respondent.

The High Court held that before taking an adverse view against the Counsel on the basis of a Facebook post, the IPAB ought to have given an opportunity to the Counsel to explain the circumstances.

"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.", the Court said.

The Court observed that the Board was needlessly strict in the matter.

"This Court is of the concerned opinion that the learned IPAB was needlessly strict in imposing costs and referring the matter to the Bar Council of India in such circumstances.", the Court held.

Thus the Court set aside the impugned Order and rectification petitions was restored for re-hearing.

"Inasmuch as the learned IPAB has subsequently been abolished, the rectification petitions would have to be heard by this Court. The Registry is directed to register the rectification petitions under the appropriate nomenclature and list them before the Court on 23rd February 2023 for hearing and disposal. Let the record from the learned IPAB be also requisitioned prior to the said date.", the Court directed.

Cause Title- Vinod Kumar v. Intellectual Property Appellate Board & Ors.

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