Madras High Court: G.R. Swaminathan, J., dealt with an interesting matter where the petitioner who was administrator of a WhatsApp group approached the Court for relief.

The instant petition was filed to quash the impugned FIR as far as the petitioner was concerned. Petitioner had formed a ‘WhatsApp Group’ in the name and style of “Karur Lawyers” and was the administrator.

It was stated that in the above-said group certain highly offensive messages were posted by one Pachaiyappan and on reading those messages it was clear that the said messages would cause ill-feeling between two communities.

Therefore, the second respondent who was a practising lawyer lodged information before the first respondent.

The above-stated led to the registration of the FIR for the offences under Sections 153A and 294(b) of the Penal Code, 1860.

Why was the present criminal original petition filed?

The instant petition was filed contending that the petitioner was only a group administrator, and he was in no way responsible and cannot be implicated as an accused.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Bench stated that since the forensic report was still awaited, it would be pre-mature to entertain the present petition. However, the first respondent shall bear in mind the decision of the Bombay High Court in Kishore v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 12 SCC 569.

High Court expressed that if the petitioner had played the role of a group administrator alone and nothing else, then while filing final report, the petitioner’s name shall be deleted. Though, if some other material was also gathered by the first respondent so as to implicate the petitioner, then of course the petitioner will have to challenge the case on merits.

In view of the above discussion, the present petition was disposed of. [R. Rajendran v. Inspector of Police, Crl. OP (MD) No. 8010 of 2021, decided on 15-12-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr T. Lajapathi Roy

For R-1: Mr E. Antony Sahaya Prabahar, Additional Public Prosecutor.

For R-2: Mr G. Thalaimutharasu, for Mrs S. Prabha.

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