Whatsapp admin not responsible for member’s objectionable  post in case of no ‘common intention’: Bombay HC

The bench while quashing an FIR and subsequent charge sheet in the case, Kishor Tarone v. State of Maharashtra & Anr., against a Whatsapp group administrator accused under sections 354-A(1)(iv), 509, 107 of the IPC and section 67 of the IT Act, held that an admin of a whatsapp group cannot be liable for objectionable content posted by a member of the group, in case of absence of common intention.

It observed that being an administrator of a whatsapp group cannot amount to ‘common intention’ as the admin cannot regulate content before it gets posted in the group.

The woman petitioner argued before the court that despite the member using degrading language against her, the admin did not take any action. He neither remove or delete the post and member nor did he ask the member to submit an apology, on the contrary, expressed his helplessness in the matter.

The bench held that Section 354-A (1)(iv) does not implicate vicarious liability. It opined that not removing the member or a failure to seek apology from the member posting objectionable content does not amount to the administrator’s liability in the case.

The court further held that members of the group can be held liable for their individual act under relevant provisions of law. The whatsapp administrator holds limited powers of adding and removing a person from the group. The functioning of the admin and of the members is at par with each other, except for the power of adding or removing members of the group.

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