Del HC | Summoning order against CEO of Swiggy in criminal case relating to violence erupted in a restaurant quashed

Delhi High Court: The Bench of R.K. Gauba, J. quashed the summoning order passed by Metropolitan Magistrate against the CEO of Swiggy observing that it does not pass the muster of a judicial order.

The incident 

The incident occurred at Delhi-19, a restaurant in Kalkaji, Delhi. The company “Swiggy” is a food aggregator which collects food and beverages from restaurants as per customer’s orders through delivery personnel described as PDP (pick-up and delivery partners). On 14-7-2018, there was a rush of PDPs at Delhi-19 as there was some delay in service by the restaurant. The situation got out of hand inasmuch as the Fleet Manager of Swiggy had to intervene. It was alleged that later some of the PDPs returned and ransacked Delhi-19. In such course, violence erupted and one Kanav Madnani suffered injuries. An FIR was registered on statement of the proprietor of Delhi-19 and after the filing of first charge-sheet was filed against arrested persons. Subsequently, a supplementary charge-sheet was filed on the basis of which CEO of Swiggy (petitioner) was summoned to appear before the Metropolitan Magistrate.

The charge

In the supplementary charge-sheet, the CEO of Swiggy along with others was sought to be put on trial for the offence punishable under Section 109 read with Section 338 IPC. It was indicated that he was negligent in framing the policies with respect to the employment of delivery boys and failed to take preventive steps, thereby having intentionally aided by illegal omission, the commission of offence under the sections mentioned herein.

High Court’s decision

The High Court noted that the petitioner was stationed in Bangalore far away from the Delhi, the place of incident. The court was of the view that having regard to CEO’s role and responsibilities, the Magistrate was expected to subject the entire material presented before him to a closer scrutiny.  It was held that the summoning order did not pass the muster of a judicial order. There was no consideration of background facts or the connection between the offence and role of the CEO. In such circumstances, the summoning order was quashed and the matter was remitted back to MM for fresh consideration.[Sriharsha Majety v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6730, dated 25-01-2019]

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