28 Aug 2023 4:00 AM GMT
Noting that there are no rules, regulations or even Standard Operating Procedures for online matrimonial websites, the Madras High Court has directed the Central and the State governments to take initiation for formulating rules to govern such website and to provide penal provisions for suppressing material facts. “This Court is of the considered view that Central or State...
Noting that there are no rules, regulations or even Standard Operating Procedures for online matrimonial websites, the Madras High Court has directed the Central and the State governments to take initiation for formulating rules to govern such website and to provide penal provisions for suppressing material facts.
“This Court is of the considered view that Central or State Government shall take initiation for formulation of rules governing field on this kind of matrimonial web-site to ensure, age and date of birth, the basic informations about bride or bridegroom (like age, date of birth, address or duly verified before being upload in the web-site and further regulation in the nature of penal provision for suppressing material facts (namely information regarding earlier marriage, status of divorce proceedings if any divorce or not, as the result the prospective person is being put to misconception of material facts,” the court observed.
Justice RMT Teeka Raman also noted that since e-medium is different from a magazine, the particulars given by a prospective person in the matrimonial advertisement need to be verified before registration of the profile. The bench also directed that documents of proof be made compulsory for registration of the profile. It thus directed the State Government to formulate a regulation to ensure that specific information is provided on the websites.
“Admittedly, E-medium is different from magazine and necessary verification of particulars given by the prospective person in the matrimonial advertisement on a particular fact, (age, date of birth and address) needs to be verified before registration of the profile. Necessary document of proof for those are to be made compulsory for registration of the profile… Any word like unmarried is to be discarded rather unmarried, divorce proceedings pending or not, should specifically be indicated by the person who applies for the same and thus it is necessary for State Government to formulate a regulation to ensure informations as stated supra,” the court said.
The court made the above observations in an anticipatory bail petition filed by one Prasanna Chakravarthy. The prosecution case was that Chakravarthy had registered his name with false particulars in the Christian Matrimony and contacted the de-facto complainant on a promise to marry, had cheated jewels and money from her. Thus, a complaint was filed under Sections 420, 417, 406, 354, 294(b), 323, and 506(ii) of the IPC read with Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Woman Act.
On Charvarthy’s side, it was argued that he did not know the de-facto complainant personally and was only acquainted with her through his online trading business. He contended that since he had rejected a proposal for marriage by the de facto complainant, the false complaint was lodged due to a grudge.
The de facto complainant, intervening in the application, submitted that Chakravarthy was a habitual offender and he had cheated several girls and women from the year 2012 onwards using different names, following the same pattern of crime.
The court remarked that due "online matrimonial fraud”, parents of girls have to be very careful and have to spend extra time to thoroughly verify the credential of those who post the profiles before proceeding further. It added that although the doctrine of caveat emptor has evolved into the doctrine of caveat vendator, applying this doctrine to matrimonial advertisement was a grey area.
However, taking into consideration the allegations and documents against Chakravarthy, the court opined that he appeared to be habitual online matrimonial fraudster and since the case was in its preliminary stage, he was not entitled for anticipatory bail.
Case Title: Prasanna Chakravarthy v State
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 245