With one of the most popular video sharing apps, Tik Tok facing backlash across the country nowadays for its inappropriate and offensive content, the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa vide order dated 28.05.2020 observed the urgency for proper check and regulation of the app.
The order was pronounced in response to a bail petition filed by a woman who was accused under Section 439 of Criminal Procedure Code 1974 for allegedly abetting suicide of her husband. As per the FIR filed against the Petitioner, she had allegedly inflicted mental torture over her husband that eventually resulted in him committing suicide.
The statement of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 of Criminal Procedure Code 1974, the Petitioner was involved in an extra marital affair. The Co- accused, i.e. Upendra supposedly sent some of the intimate and private Tik Tok videos with the Petitioner to the deceased which were also alleged to have been streamed on social media. This resulted in the deceased committing suicide by hanging himself on 13.07.2019 due to the shame and mental pressure imposed on him thereof. The Petitioner was subsequently arrested on 14.01.2020 and was in jail since then.
As per the investigation and statements extracted under Section 161 of Criminal Procedure Code 1974, although Upendra’s involvement in the alleged suicide was clearly established, the Petitioner’s role in the same was still to be confirmed.
Expressing his concern over the increasing number of cyber bullying incidents and the offensive and explicit content shared on Tik Tok, Justice SK Panigrahi stated that it was the video sharing app which resulted in the “tragic end” of the deceased. Stressing upon the need to regulate such apps he further stated as follows, “Tik Tok Mobile App which often demonstrates a degrading culture and encourage pornography besides causing paedophiles and explicit disturbing content, is required to be properly regulated so as to save the teens from its negative impact.”
Another important aspect put to light by the Hon’ble High Court was the inadequate training of investigating officers in our country dealing with cyber crimes and suggested such officers to receive periodical training to upgrade their skills in order to investigate techno-legal issues.
Taking note of all the facts and circumstances of the case, Justice SK Panigrahi ordered the Petitioner to be released on conditional bail since her role in the abatement of her husband’s suicide could not be established until date. The Petitioner was further ordered to be present whenever called upon for the trial.