The Madras High Court’s Madurai Bench on Thursday stayed a case filed against 49 BSNL employees for posting smileys on an official WhatsApp group. BSNL Divisional Engineer L Vijayalakshmi had filed the case under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act and the Information Technology Act. Justice P N Prakash said that the woman’s complaint did not warrant any of these provisions. He observed that people have the right to express their views on social media.
The employees’ lawyer argued that the police should not have registered an FIR as Vijayalakshmi had raised the issue with BSNL authorities. The counsel said a departmental inquiry had found no prima facie substance in her allegation.
The group was formed for a better coordination and speedy redressal of customer complaints. Vijayalakshmi had alleged that she was humiliated with smileys when she posted a customer’s grievance details in the group.