In today’s world, social media become one of the best aspects of our life. Not only youth but senior citizen also enjoying the social media with the same excitement.
Some people have not connected with social media. According to a report, 240 million Indians on Facebook, 200 million on WhatsApp and 10 million on Twitter, legal pronouncements on social media have special significance for citizens.
Every aspect has two sides, which good or bad. With the good side of social media, it helps in share and providing information to each other. And bad side, they never bother about the whether it’s wrong or right.
In recent year, the no. Of cases were registered about the as fake news and so many incidents were happened overspreading the fake news.
WhatsApp is one of the leading social media apps which is used very largely. But they also responsible for spreading fake news. To control this, There have been several judgements related to WhatsApp, significantly from the Honourable High Courts of Delhi and Madras. However, that of the High Court of Madras of May 10, 2018, needs public attention.
This judgement in the case of crime No 148 of 2018, CRL OP No 12229 of 2018, related to the forwarding of a highly objectionable WhatsApp message, [claimed to be a forward]; by a public personality, S. Ve Shekar [originally AIADMK, now BJP] which was found by the court to be “direct abusive obscene foul language.” The subject pertained to professional women and the forward centred on the texted remark that, “… women cannot become reporters, or anchors unless they sleep with top bosses …”.
The petitioner [accused] in the case being charged under section 504, 505 [I] [C] and 509 of the IPC [read with section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of women Harassment act], had approached the court apprehending arrest and consequently sought anticipatory bail.
In its deliberations, the court went into the details of the facts, evidence of various persons, and the record. Despite protestations of innocence by the petitioner, the Honourable Judge, found the accused, a highly educated public personality, with a media and theatre background, a member of the censor board; lacking in bona fides, mal-intentioned and abusive. The operative part of the judgement consequently denying anticipatory bail to the petitioner, emerges from sound logic, and law. It is the wider application of the conclusions that inexorably draws us to them.
While it is well understood that Judgements of a High Court are binding within their jurisdiction, these judgements have persuasive value across courts of the nation. Undoubtedly the ratio of any judgement is intimately linked to the facts of that case, but general conclusions have a far wider impact on the psyche of Judges and lawmakers. The conclusions unfettered by linked evidence or facts that emerge in this judgement are [as quoted]
‘words are more powerful than acts’
‘talking is different to typing. Typing becomes a document ’
‘Forwarded message is equal to accepting the message and endorsing the message.’
*While the first may strictly fall into the category of an opinion, there is little chance of its misrepresentation, since laws are explicitly clear on acts and action.
*The second has implications linked to the Evidence Act.
*The third emphatic conclusion, however, carries with it far-reaching implications for the citizenry.
Social Media, as is common knowledge, can be used for infinite benefit, as well as demonic vice. It can be harnessed to save lives, alleviate suffering, as well as propagate terror.
As the use of social media growth expands, Lawmakers in India will need to toil harder since the centrality of our laws are largely from the early 1900s. Though great strides have been made in sections of the law by Courts, those that are pertaining to Electronic and Social Media, are still evolving. This conclusion on forwarding of messages [as a stand-alone pronouncement], sits on the intersection of privacy, enabling technology, and social behaviour.
Source – The Citizen