In a sigh of relief to WhatsApp group admins, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a civil suit for defamation against an admin of a social media group, ruling that he cannot be made accountable for content posted by other members of the group.
“I am unable to understand as to how the administrator of a group can be held liable for defamation even if any, by the statements made by a member of the group,” said Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.
The court argued that since members don’t need administrator’s prior approval to post content on the group, so holding the admin liable for member-posted content is equivalent to holding the ‘manufacturer of the newsprint’ liable for defamatory statements in the newspaper.
“When an online platform is created, the creator, thereof, cannot expect any of the members thereof to indulge in defamation and defamatory statements made by any member of the group cannot make the administrator liable therefore. It is not as if without the administrator’s approval of each of the statements, the statements cannot be posted by any of the members of the group on the said platform,” the court observed.
The ruling comes as a welcome move, in an increasingly hostile cyberspace in the country.