New Delhi, Feb. 24 (Delhi Crown): The Creator (or Admin) of a WhatsApp group cannot be held responsible if any member makes an offensive/objectionable post(s) in the group, the Kerala High Court has observed.
The order assumes significance even as WhatApp has emerged as one of the most modern tools/techniques of instant communication in today’s world.
Recalling that it was the basic principle of criminal jurisprudence that “mens rea” must be an ingredient of an offence, the Kerala High Court held that both the “act” and the “intent” must concur to constitute a crime.
Hearing a case wherein the petitioner had created a WhatsApp group called “FRIENDS’. Being the Creator of the WhatsApp group, he was the Admin too. There were two more Admins of the WhatsApp Group.
In March 2020, one of the Admins posted a porn-video in the group depicting children engaged in sexually explicit acts. Accordingly, a crime was registered against the first accused under Sections 67B (a), (b) and (d) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Sections 13, 14 and 15 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act (POCSO Act).
Later on, the petitioner was arrayed as the second accused, being the creator of the group and the co-admin. Aggrieved by this, he moved the Kerala High Court.