The government of Karnataka, India, has been ordered by the state’s highest court to take action to rein in the proliferation of online therapists advertising their services on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Justice M. Nagaprasanna, sitting alone on the bench, in the case of SANJANA FERNANDES @ RAVEERA v. STATE OF KARNATAKA made the following observation: “It is public domain that there is significant mushrooming of so-called therapies and therapists on social media, i.e., Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, as the case might be. It’s common knowledge that they’re all fake therapists who use Instagram to further their careers.
FACTS OF THE CASE
Information technology worker Shankar Ganesh PJ filed a complaint, claiming he had met petitioner Sanjana Fernandes alias Raveera through the online dating service Tinder.
He allegedly told Fernandes how stressed he was one night when they were chatting. She responded by telling him about her Instagram account, which is called “positivity-for-a-360-life,” and that she is a Wellness Therapist who advocates for the holistic health of her clients.
Throughout the COVID-19 lockout, the man continued to make individual class transfers to her bank account. Classes were held on Instagram.
The plot shifted, however, when the male expressed a desire in meeting the woman in person and began sending her sexually suggestive messages.The woman allegedly blocked him after he sent her lewd messages containing pornography and other inappropriate content.
Offended by her reaction, he began to question the efficacy of the treatment she had been receiving. The woman claimed to have 15 social media profiles, and it was later discovered that she actually had significantly more.
He charged the lady with both cheating and violating the IT Act, resulting to the filing of a First Information Report.
JUDGEMENT AND ORDER
The court observed that several individuals online pose as therapists without being subject to any professional codes of conduct or governmental oversight.
“People in need of therapy, unfortunately, have fallen prey to these types of con artists in increasing numbers. The government should therefore take action to limit the proliferation of quack therapists.”
The Supreme Court of Karnataka, India, has issued an order to the state government demanding that it take steps to curb the growth of online therapists promoting their services on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
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Judgement reviewed by Deepa Bajaj.