The modern genesis of vicariously attributing culpability to a creator or administrator of a WhatsApp group for offensive, defamatory or objectionable content posted by a group member can be found in the recent decision of the High Court of Kerala on February 23, 2022, in the matter of Manual versus State of Kerala and another. The High Court of Kerala has largely followed the bright line laid down by the High Court of Bombay, the High Court of Delhi and the High Court of Madras in their previous decisions on this subject. As a rule, most common law jurisdictions have traditionally applied vicarious liability by employing the common law doctrine of respondent superior. It is noteworthy that superior courts have also authoritatively held in successive judgments that vicarious criminal liability can be attributed only if a penal provision of such nature is specifically provided in the underlying statute.
Continue Reading Can the admin of a WhatsApp group be held vicariously liable for an objectionable post by a group member?