oppn parties WhatsApp Group Admin Not Vicariously Liable For Action of Members

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court approves two-child norm for government jobs in Rajasthan
  • DMK issues rocket ad with Chinese flag, PM Modi slams party
  • BJP alleges that Congress workers raised slogans like 'Pakistan jindabad' outside Karnataka assembly after the results for the RS polls were declared. CM Siddaramaiah promises stern action if claim found true
  • Calcutta HC says any agency can arrest absconding Sandeshkhali TMC strongman Sk Shahjahan
  • Himachal Pradesh Speaker suspends 15 BJP MLAs for unruly behaviour
  • Joint teams of Navy, NCB and Gujarat ATS seized a boat with 3200kgs of narcotics in high seas off Gujarat coast. Five crew members were also arrested
  • Centre tells Supreme Court that economic disaster will follow if states are allowed to tax mineral land
  • NCLT asks Byju's to keep rights issue funds in a different account
  • Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Enterprises was conferred the honorary Knighthood by Britain's King Charles III for services rendered in furthering business relations between the UK & India
  • RIL to merge Viacom18 with Disney's Star in $8.5bn deal, Nita Ambani to lead the board of merged entity
  • Vodafone Idea shares fall nearly 15% over fears of huge fund raising
  • Stock markets crash on Wednesday: Sensex loses 790 points to 72304 and Nifty 247 points to 21951
  • BCCI gets tough, removes Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan from central contracts for missing Ranji Trophy. In a first, it starts fast bowling contracts to reward emerging players like Akash Deep and four others
  • Tennis: Sumit Nagal loses in first round of Dubai Duty Free tournament
  • WPL: UP Warriorz beat Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets
Bengal police arrests TMC leader Sk Shahjahan, the prime accused in the Sandeshkhali disturbances
oppn parties
WhatsApp Group Admin Not Vicariously Liable For Action of Members

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2021-12-28 08:27:39

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The Madras High Court has confirmed that the admins of a WhatsApp group cannot be held vicariously liable for the actions of the members in the group due to the very nature of the application and the limited powers the app allows to them. The court cited the Bombay HC judgment on this issue in the case Kishor versus The State of Maharashtra to reiterate that since the administrator does not have the powers to regulate, moderate or censor the content posted by other members of the group, he or she cannot be held liable for their actions.

The case was about a WhatsApp group of lawyers in Tamil Nadu, called Karur Lawyers, a member of which filed a criminal case against the admin and a member over a "highly offensive" post by the latter. The admin approached the HC pleading innocence as it was not in his power to prevent some members from posting content found offensive by other members.

In the Bombay HC order cited by the court, the learned judges had ruled that the admin cannot be held for vicarious liability for the act of other members unless it was proved that "there was the common intention or pre-arranged plan acting in concert pursuant to such plan by such member of a WhatsApp group and the administrator."

This is the right legal interpretation. For, any WhatsApp administrator is only allowed by the makers of the app to admit new members or remove existing one, apart from changing the name, status and profile picture of the group or including other members as co-administrators. It is not in the hands of the admin to moderate, delete or censor any offending post which can only be done by one who originally posted. Hence, they cannot be held liable for something which is not in their power.