On Thursday, a Bench of Justice S.K. Panigrahi of the Odisha High Court had reportedly slammed TikTok, a Chinese video-sharing social media app, for promoting disturbing content and pornography. He made the observation while hearing a bail petition in a case in which a man committed suicide in Sambalpur district after receiving explicit TikTok videos of his wife with another man.
“It appears that the Tik Tok videos in the instant case have become the cause for the tragic end of innocent life. The app, which often demonstrates a degrading culture and encourages pornography besides causing paedophiles and explicit disturbing content, is required to be properly regulated so as to save the teens from its negative impact,” the Judge ruled.
The Court had called for better regulation of the app, besides highlighting the lack of laws that specifically address crimes such as cyberbullying. The Judge observed that even though the Information Technology Act,2000 imposes obligations on companies to deal with explicit content, yet there was no specialised law to deal with such crimes. Reportedly, the Chinese video-streaming app has over 11.9 crore active users in India.
The Court further noted that police personnel often lack the training to understand the ‘nuances of cybercrimes.’ The Judge emphasised on the need for periodical training and improvement in cyber intelligence, cyber forensics, and cyber prosecution training that will, in turn, help in investigating techno-legal cases.
The Case in Question
The bail petition was filed by the wife of the man who was arrested on January 14, 2020, for abetment of suicide. It was alleged that the woman along with the co-accused had mentally tortured the man, directly and indirectly, to the point that he was forced to end his life. The accused’s husband, who hailed from Dhanupali area in Sambalpur district of Odisha, committed suicide on July 13, 2019, after hanging himself from the fan.
Reportedly, the woman had an affair with the co-accused, prior to her marriage. The deceased and the woman got married last year on February 21. The co-accused had sent explicit videos to the victim and had also streamed them on social media.
She was represented by advocates Bijay Kumar Ragada and LN Patel. They argued that the woman had been languishing in jail since her arrest and thus sought a bail. While granting bail, Justice Panigrahi directed her to stand trial when called upon by the Court.
Maneka Gandhi warns TikTok
Earlier, BJP MP from Sultanpur and an animal activist, Maneka Gandhi, took to Twitter to slam the Head of TikTok for refusing to delete videos depicting animal cruelty and handing over details of such video creators to the concerned authorities. She had asked the Head of TikTok India to penalise people involved in sharing videos of ‘gratuitous violence’, besides suspending their accounts permanently.
Gandhi had also directed him to reveal the names and addresses of such users to the law enforcement authorities so that appropriate action can be taken against them. “Are you working for India or China? This is not acceptable. I want a much better and firmer commitment immediately and I need to see it in action,” Maneka Gandhi concluded.