Can the WhatsApp group admin be held criminally liable for objectionable posts of a group member?

A group administrator has limited power of removing a member of the group or adding other members of the group. Once the group is created, the functioning of the administrator and that of the members is at par with each other, except the power of

adding or deleting members to the group. The Administrator of a

Whatsapp group does not have power to regulate, moderate or censor the content before it is posted on the group. But, if a member of the Whatsapp group posts any content, which is actionable under law, such person can be held liable under relevant provisions of law. In the absence of specific penal provision creating vicarious liability, an administrator of a Whatsapp group cannot be held liable for objectionable content posted by a member of a group. A group administrator cannot be held vicariously liable for an act of member of the group, who posts objectionable content, unless it is shown that there was common intention or pre-arranged plan acting in concert pursuant to such plan by such member of a Whatsapp group and the administrator. Common intention cannot be established in a case of Whatsapp service user merely acting as a group administrator. When a person creates a Whatsapp group, he cannot be expected to presume or to have advance knowledge of the criminal acts of the member of the group.




Kishor Chintaman Tarone, Vs The State of Maharashtra,


DATED : 01.03.2021.

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