Crack down on Insta influencers and fake therapists: Karnataka HC tells Govt


New Delhi: The Karnataka High Court has urged the government to develop some regulatory measures to curb the rise of ‘Instagram influencers’ and fake therapists.

The court issued a warning as many people were using these online therapists. The High Court had said in a September 2 judgment that there are many such therapists on social media while rejecting a plea by one such “influencer” seeking to drop a criminal case against her.

They are not actually constrained by morality or governed by standards. These types of situations, where people seeking therapy fall victim to fake therapists, have begun to occur frequently.

The court said: “In the public domain, there are a large number of such therapists. On social media, therapists pose as if they are in the field of therapy. It is also in the public domain that they are pseudo-therapists who are influencers of Instagram Justice M Nagaprasanna was hearing a criminal petition by Sanjana Fernandes alias Raveera, a 28-year-old resident of Bangalore.

He was the target of a complaint filed by Shankar Ganesh PJ. He is currently facing charges of cheating under the Indian Penal Code and various parts of the Information Technology Act in a case that is being heard by a High Court.

The prosecution claims that Raveera, an IT expert, met the accused through a dating app. He posted Shankar Ganesh on his Instagram page “Positive For A 360 Life” after noticing he was stressed. She identified herself as a welfare advisor. During the Covid-19 outbreak, the complainant attended his online classes and sent him nearly Rs 3.15 lakh.

Ganesh started messaging the therapist because he wanted to meet her in person. She finally blocked him. He discovered that he had 15 accounts on Instagram and other social networks.

So he accused her of cheating and filed a complaint. Ganesh was sending Raveera indecent messages and dirty requests, she claimed in her High Court petition, and when she refused, a false complaint was filed against her.

The defendant’s statements about the therapy were unfounded, the court noted. It is its own website, unqualified and self-generated. As a result, this is a situation where the petitioner, who had any qualifications or substance, used the website to attract clients to the world of wellness therapy.

The discussions will show that the petitioner initially identified herself as a health therapist and her team will handle the complaint, the court said referring to her claims. So it was the website that was made to attract the whistleblower and others, without having any equipment or qualifications of any kind.

Therefore, there is strong evidence that the petitioner committed the crime of cheating. The court noted that it had also filed a suit against Ganesh for the indecent communications.

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