Legal Advice

Sending offensive messages

Shivendra Pratap Singh


High Court Lucknow

Criminal Law

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Question asked on: 19 May, 2016

Question: My wife has been downloading my photos from social networking websites and sending them to my brother in law with vulgar comments. She has unnecessarily started posting false statements claiming to be made by me as well. The communication I have had with her is only for 10 days after my marriage as she left to her mother’s house after that. We have not had any conversation as such in these 10 days because I had to report back to work.

Please tell me what to do? She has been accessing my social database and downloading my photos. I do not want to become a victim of false statements. I want to take legal action against her for accessing my social network, provoking my in-laws against me and creating problems in my married life. She has also made extremely disgusting and rude statements about me and my husband not having a child yet and has called my husband and me bad words (like buffalo and other animal names) in her WhatsApp messages to my brother in law. My brother in law has not responded to her messages. Please advise me about the best legal option.

Asked from: Karnataka

The individual in question has committed the offences of Defamation and Intentional Insult under section 500 IPC and section 504 IPC, respectively. While their actions would have been punishable under section 66A of The Information Technology Act 2008, this section was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Shreya Singhal v. Union of India (2013) 12 SCC 73. Therefore, no complaint can be filed for an offence punishable under section 66A of the IT Act.

If you have posted photos or information for public access on Facebook, you cannot prevent this individual from accessing them. However, you have the right to restrict access to selected individuals, and Facebook provides privacy settings for this purpose.

The individual’s act of posting false statements claiming to be made by you constitutes an offence punishable under section 66D of the Information Technology Act, which carries a sentence of three years of imprisonment and a fine up to one lakh rupees. If they have hacked your password or other information, you can prosecute them under section 66C of the IT Act.

To pursue legal action, you should file a complaint under section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the offences punishable under section 500/504 IPC and section 66D of the IT Act. The offences under IPC are non-cognizable and bailable, while the offence under the IT Act is cognizable and bailable.

To prove the offence, you should collect evidence such as printouts and screenshots of relevant messages and images. This evidence is admissible under section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act and is necessary for the court to take cognizance of the offence.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Magistrate has jurisdiction to try the offences, as per section 182 of the CRPC. The court may order an investigation under section 202 CRPC or issue a summon/warrant to the accused under section 204 CRPC.

If the accused has stopped coming to court, you may file an expedite petition before the High Court under section 483 of the CRPC for an expeditious hearing of the case. The court may direct the case to be disposed of within a stipulated period, without giving unnecessary adjournments to the accused.