Justice SS Sundar, who quashed the FIR registered against 46 BSNL staff in this regard, said, “When it is accepted that an emoji is sent to express ones feeling about something, it cannot be treated as an overt act on others. In certain cases, it can be used to ridicule or to show one’s disapproval in a given context.”
The de-facto complainant had submitted that she was inducted in the group to share the complaints in BSNL service and rectify them. Accordingly, she had uploaded recorded videos of three customers. But the staff in the group on considering it as a post to degrade their efficiency retaliated with posting smiley faces with tears. She therefore lodged a complaint at Thoothukudi South Police Station. An FIR was also registered under various Acts for harassment and outraging modesty. Challenging this, the aggrieved staff moved the court seeking to quash the FIR. They contended that they had posted the emoji to show their disapproval but not to defame her.
The judge on holding that the complaint does not disclose any offence as indicated, opined that the staff ought not to have indulged in posting such emojis. On recording the petitioners regret for posting such smileys, Justice Sundar, said, “The matter should rest here, and it will not be in the interest of justice to permit such complaints to stay.”