The Punjab and Haryana High Court held that if a mobile phone number is used for the commission of an alleged offence, the first in line of liability is the registered owner of that “mobile number”. The owner cannot shun the liability by simply stating that the phone was not in his possession.

Present petition was filed for grant of pre-arrest bail with regard to FIR under Section 420 IPC read with Section 34 IPC and Section 66 of IT Act, 2000. Bench stated that once the mobile phone which has been used in the commission of the offence is registered in the name of the petitioner and the said number had been issued after bio-metric verification of KYC of the petitioner, it is the petitioner who has to explain as to how the said number was used for the commission of the offence.

However, the court rejected the pre- arrest bail application on the ground that the alleged phone is yet to be recovered hence until then the registered owner’s judicial custody is mandatory for smooth investigation.