Chennai, June 9, 2022: Canceling the earlier bail granted to the respondent-youtuber, who made derogatory remarks against the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has held that the intermediaries are not expected to insist for FIR or any court orders to remove the videos which are in violation of their guidelines. If it is not blocked or removed even after it was brought to their knowledge, the intermediaries are committing the offence under Section 69A (3) of the Information Technology Act.
A Single Bench of Justice B. Pugalendhi allowed the present criminal miscellaneous petition instituted by the petitioner-investigating agency against the respondent in order to cancel his earlier bail order on the ground that the respondent continued to commit the alleged offence punishable under Sections 153(A), 504 & 505(i)(b) IPC r/w Section 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, by observing that the respondent was deliberately getting involved in the alleged offences in order to get more view and to earn more money.
In the instant case, the first respondent was a youtuber who was alleged of making certain derogatory remarks against the former Chief Minister of the State of Tamil Nadu. A complaint was lodged against the respondent for the commission of the offences punishable under Sections 153(A), 504 & 505(i)(b) IPC r/w Section 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 . Consequently, the respondent instituted a criminal application for the grant of bail and he also filed an affidavit of undertaking wherein he stated that he had realized his mistake and that he will not indulge in these sorts of activities in future instances as well. In pursuance of the same, the Court through an order granted bail to the respondent. However, it was the case of the petitioner that in spite of taking the undertaking before the present Court, the respondent continued to make derogatory statements against the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Hence, an application was filed for cancellation of the bail order granted by this Court to the first respondent.
The Bench noted that according to the investigation agency, in most of the cases, the persons affected come to the forefront to register the complaint and when a request is made, the intermediaries are insisting for the FIR or the Court order. Considering this, the Bench held that the intermediaries operating in India are also governed by the Act and the Rules of the lan. In view of the same, the Court noted that the intermediaries framed certain guidelines for its users. In case of any violation of the conditions, it is the duty of the intermediaries to remove or block the channel as per the terms of the agreement, the Court stated.
In respect of the same, the Court observed that there was no iota of doubt in the fact that the continents of the first appellant’s video violated the terms and conditions of the intermediary and as such, the investigating agency ought to have brought the same to the knowledge of the intermediary. If the intermediary, even after bringing such violation to their knowledge, failed to remove the videos, then the investigating agency shall book them as well, the Court noted. At this stage, the Court referred to the Apex Court’s judgment in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v Union of India .
It was further submitted by the Court that from the conduct of the respondent it was clear that he was repeatedly getting involved in the commission of the alleged offences with the intention to grab more views and to earn more money. In view of the same, the Court was satisfied that there was complete violation of terms and conditions stipulated in the earlier order and thus, the Court was inclined to cancel the order of the bail granted to the first respondent. Thus, the the bail granted to the first respondent in the earlier order was quashed.