Proceedings against Snapdeal quashed


The High Court of Karnataka has quashed criminal proceedings initiated against e-commerce website snapdeal.com and its chief executive officer Kunal Bahl and chief operative officer Rohit Kumar Bansal during June 2020, for enabling sale and supply of a drug in contravention of the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

“An intermediary as defined under Section 2(w) of the Information Technology Act or its directors/officers would not be liable for any action or inaction on part of a vendor/seller making use of the facilities provided by the intermediary in terms of a website or a market place,” the High Court held, relying on a verdict by the Supreme Court.

Justice Suraj Govindaraj passed the order while allowing the petitions filed by the company and its chief executives challenging the cognisance of offence taken against them by a court in Mysuru in June 2020.

The Drugs Inspector (Intelligence), Mysuru, had complained that snapdeal.com allowed sale of Suhagra-100 tablets (sildenafil citrate 100 mg) during 2014 by a manufacturer based in Haryana, and the tablet was delivered to a person in Karnataka in November 2014 through snapdeal.com.

Apart from holding that the intermediary is not liable for prosecution for lapses by vendors/sellers, the court found no justification for the delay of six years in lodging the complaint by the drugs authorities. The court also found that Snapdeal had done due diligence of vendor as per the law and had initiated action on the vendor of the drug as per law, acting on initiation by the drugs authorities.

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Sagar Biswas

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