Supreme Court stated that hacking and Data Theft are offenses under IPC also, not just the Information Technology Act
The Judgement was given by the vacation bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Aniruddha Bose. The matter was considering a Special Leave Petition [SLP] against the March order of the High Court of Punjab and Harayana dismissing the anticipatory bail plea of Petitioner [Jagjeet Singh].
The matter was related to an FIR filed on 20.10.2020 registered in the Punjab State Cyber Crime Police Station, at the instance of TCY Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which pointed out that some ex-employees have copied/ stolen the data and source code of a related software of the Company and transferred the same to Exoways Web Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Exoways Web Technologies Pvt Ltd was co-founded by the petitioner and was the company to which the codes were sold. The petitioner was also the co-owner of a franchise of the complaint company.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal, appearing for the Petitioner stated that IPC has been unnecessarily invoked. He argued that when the issue is related to hacking and data theft of data, then it should come under the IT Act, 2000. He mentioned that such IPC sections were intentionally invoked so that the petitioner will be deprived of his statutory right to bail.
Justice Maheshwari observed that this not a case of theft by the agent/servent. If 381 of IPC, will not come here, then I don't know what will come! He stated. Also, he pointed out that in the contents of the FIR, there is a basic breach of trust. And if someone is part of the company, IPC is applicable
Justice Bose mentioned the Section 66 of the IT Act is ‘hacking straight away. But here in this matter is the misappropriation of the hacked materials is not covered under the IT Act, 2000. Hence the IPC would apply.
The bench then proceeded to dismiss the Special Leave Petition filed by the petitioner.