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Big decision of court, admin is not responsible for offensive messages in WhatsApp group; See details

New Delhi: Instant Messaging app The number of WhatsApp users is huge. This app is used for sending important files from chatting to calling. You WhatsApp Upstairs is also a friend, a member of several family groups. Often there is also a group admin. The admin is responsible for any offensive messages sent to the group. However, now the Kerala High Court has given an important decision. The Kerala High Court has ruled that the group admin cannot be held responsible for any offensive messages received in any WhatsApp group. The court passed the verdict while hearing a case.

In March 2020, a video was shared in a WhatsApp group called ‘Friends’. It showed young children engaging in sexual activity. This group was also created by the petitioner and he was the admin. The petitioner was accompanied by two other admins, one of whom was an accused. The first accused was charged under sections 67B (a), B, D of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and sections 13, 14 and 15 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act. As an admin, the petitioner was also charged. The petitioners then rushed to the court.

The court said that the admin of the WhatsApp group has the sole privilege over other members to decide which member to add or remove from the group. No member has any control over what the group is posting. It cannot moderate or censor messages in any group. Judge Kauser Edappagath said that in criminal law, Vicarious liability means that the punishment for the crime of others can be determined only when there is a provision in the law. Currently there is no such mention in the IT Act. That said, the WhatsApp admin cannot be a mediator under IT law.

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