Delhi HC closes criminal proceedings against online travel platform's owner in cheating case

The Delhi High Court quashed a summoning order issued by a trial court here against the owner of an online travel platform in a cheating case by a consumer after he offered to make a voluntary deposit of Rs 7.5 lakh towards lawyers' welfare funds and the parties arrived at a settlement.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri said that since the case was "purely commercial", no fruitful purpose would now be served by its continuation.

The complainant said he has arrived at the settlement with the owner out of his own free will, volition and without any force or coercion and has no objection if the ongoing proceedings are quashed.

The owner, without prejudice to his rights and contentions, expressed his desire to make a voluntary contribution to the tune of Rs 7.50 lakh in view of the difficulties faced by the legal community in the time of the pandemic.

The court recorded that Rs 4 lakh, Rs 2.50 lakh and Rs 1 lakh shall be deposited by the owner towards the New Delhi Bar Association Members Welfare Fund, Delhi High Court Bar Association Pandemic Relief Fund and the Delhi High Court (Middle Income Group) Legal Aid Society, respectively.

"The transaction in the present case being purely commercial in nature, no fruitful purpose would be served by continuation of the proceedings. In view of the foregoing discussions, the impugned order dated 03.03.2020 is set aside, subject to the voluntary deposit of Rs 7,50,000 by the petitioner within a period of one week from today," the court said in its order dated September 21.

In the present case, the complainant, lawyer Tarun Rana had booked a holiday package with the travel website and was assured a stay at hotels ranked with four and/or five stars.

In the FIR, the complainant stated that he felt duped by the company as contrary to the promise, the stay was provided at substandard hotels for the most part of the vacation.

The owner had moved the high court after he was summoned by the trial court in spite of the Delhi Police's closure report that no vicarious liability could be imposed on him.

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    16-02-2022 / 07:11:45 PM