29 April 2020

WhatsApp Group is a public place

WhatsApp cannot be a public place if messages are exchanged on personal accounts of two persons. If these messages had been posted on WhatsApp Group, in that case the same could have been called as public place because all the members of the group, will have access to those messages. It is not the prosecution case that the alleged obscene messages were posted on WhatsApp Group of which the petitioner and the respondent No. 2 and others are the members. Therefore, sending the personal messages on WhatsApp will not amount to utterance of obscene words in public place. Therefore, Section 294 of the I.P.C. cannot be invoked.[Para no.10]

   To call a woman, even if she is one's own wife a prostitute and to call her that she earns money by indulging in prostitution amounts to insulting the modesty of a woman. Therefore, there is prima-facie evidence to indicate that the offence falls under Section 509 of the I.P.C. In view of this, F.I.R. is quashed to the extent of Section 294 of I.P.C. However, the prosecution is at liberty to carry out investigation to ascertain whether the ofence under Section 509 of the I.P.C. is made out.[Para no.11]

Bombay High Court

Nivrutti Hariram Gaikwad
The State Of Maharashtra

Decided on 11/03/2020

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