WhatsApp Group Admin not responsible for content, says Madras Court
The Madras High Court has reiterated that WhatsApp group admins cannot be held liable for objectionable content posted by members. In the case involving Kishore v. State Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court had said that WhatsApp group admins cannot be help liable for content posted by the members. Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madurai Bench reiterated that on a recent hearing at the Madras Court.
The Bombay Court had previously declared that if the group admin had no role in the crime, then his/her name must be deleted from the list of accused. However, if the admin is involved in the crime, the person can be tried under the law.
WhatsApp Group Admins not liable for content
“A group administrator cannot be held vicariously liable for an act of a member of the group, who posts objectionable content unless it is shown that there was a common intention or pre-arranged plan acting in concert pursuant to such plan by such member of a WhatsApp group and the administrator," said the Bombay High Court previously.
At the time, the Court also added that a WhatsApp Group Admin only has the power to add or remove group members. An admin cannot know or expect the content yet to be posted by the members.
The case involved an FIR that charged a WhatsApp Group admin for objectionable content being circulated on the group. The messages could cause disturbance between communities.
The petition, however, claimed that the petitioner was only the admin of the WhatsApp group and had could not be held responsible for the content circulated by group members.
WhatsApp, on the other hand, plans to give more power to the group admins in the future updates. A leak had suggested that WhatsApp group admins will be able to remove messages for everyone on the group. Hence, if the admin feels some message should not be shared, they can remove it immediately from the group.