NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay excessive court docket has dominated that WhatsApp group admins can’t be held answerable for objectionable content material posted by a member until it’s proved there was frequent intention or a pre-arranged plan between them.
“In the absence of a specific penal provision creating vicarious liability, the administrator can’t be held liable for objectionable content posted by a member. Common intention can’t be established in the case of WhatsApp service users merely acting as administrators,” the division bench of Justices Zaka Haq and Amir Borkar mentioned.
Quashing a grievance towards a person from Maharashtra’s Gondia for alleged sexual harassment below Section 354-A(1)(iv), learn together with Sections 509 and 107 of the IPC and Section 67 of the IT Act, 2000, the bench mentioned a gaggle admin doesn’t have energy to manage, average or censor the content material earlier than it’s posted.
“The administrators are the ones who create the group by adding/deleting the members. Every group has one or more administrators, who control members’ participation. A group administrator has limited power of removing/adding the members. Once the group is created, the administrators’ and members’ functions are at par with each other, except addition/deletion powers. But, if a member posts any objectionable content, s/he can be held liable under relevant provisions of law,” the court docket mentioned.
Petitioner Kishor Tarone had moved court docket after a lady accused him, the admin of a WhatsApp group, of not eradicating a member who had used obscene language towards her. She additionally alleged that the petitioner did not ask the member to apologise and as a substitute expressed helplessness.
The judges mentioned when an individual creates a WhatsApp group, they will’t be anticipated to presume or to have advance information of any unlawful intent of a member. “In our opinion, within the info of current case, non removing of a member or failure to hunt apology from him, who had posted the objectionable comment, wouldn’t quantity to creating sexually colored remarks by the administrator.