The Karnataka High Court has refused to quash a cheating case against a woman who took money from man On Tinder Representing Herself As Wellness Therapist.
The complainant is an information technology professional. The petitioner and the complainant come in contact with each other with a dating app ‘Tinder’. Both of them get acquainted to each other and it appears that on a particular night when they were on chat, the complainant claims to be completely stressed and expresses such stress to the petitioner.
The petitioner then represents that she has an instagram page “positivity-for-a-360-life” and she is a Wellness Therapist who would advocate and promote general well being of mind, body and soul. The complainant on the representation being made by the petitioner with regard to her qualification in the therapist goes on transferring amounts on class to class basis. After the end of the class, the complainant claims to be satisfied of the class and then transferred the money.
This goes on throughout the period the country was engulfed with Covid-19 and intermittent lock-down being in place. The classes of wellness therapy goes little wrong when the complainant begins to get interested in meeting the wellness therapist, the petitioner, as they had never met each other. The transaction or the classes had happened through instagram.
The complainant getting interested in the petitioner started sending lewd messages and started to post indecent contents containing pornography and other material on the inbox of the petitioner. Then the petitioner blocks the account of the complainant.
It is then the complainant begins to dig at the veracity of the therapy that the petitioner claimed and comes to know that the petitioner had 15 such profiles of instagram or other social media and then registers a complaint against the petitioner for offence of cheating and the offence under the Information Technology Act in Crime No.245 of 2021.
The Police after investigation filed a charge sheet for the very offences so alleged earlier on 4-08-202. It is the filing of the charge sheet that drives the petitioner to this Court in the subject petition.
The petitioner contended that the petitioner who is a wellness therapist is innocent of what is alleged against her. It was the complainant who approached the petitioner for his well being and after taking treatment, on being satisfied with every class, has voluntarily transferred all the amounts. It was only because the petitioner did not yield to the lewd requests of the complainant, the complaint comes to be registered. It is purely a matter of contract between the petitioner and the complainant who has consented to the classes and seeks quashment of entire proceedings.
The department contended that it is not the complainant who approached the petitioner since the first message comes from the petitioner to the complainant in a particular name called ‘Rishta’ which is not her name. She then represented that she is a wellness therapist and lured the petitioner into treatment and ultimately cheated the petitioner for transfer of close to Rs.3,15,000 and would, therefore, contend that the petitioner is a con-woman and seeks dismissal of the petition. There are abundant materials of cheating against the petitioner and therefore, it is a matter for trial.
The single bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna noted that the chats would reveal that the petitioner had initially represented that she is a wellness therapist and her team would take care of the complainant. Therefore, without having any team or any qualification whatsoever, it was the web page prima facie created to lure the complainant and the like. It is therefore, the offence of cheating comes clearly made out against the petitioner.
It is in public domain that there are huge mushrooming of so called therapies and therapists on social media i.e., instagram, twitter or facebook as the case would be, wherein therapists pose themselves to be in the field of any therapy. It is also in the public domain that they are all pseudo-therapists who are “instagram influencers”. The present case concerns psychosomatic therapy or wellness therapy.
“Therapists of the kind, are many in number on social media, in reality, they are not bound by any ethics or not regulated by any norms. Cases of this nature have begun to emerge in large proportions where people wanting to get some therapy fall prey to such pseudo-therapists. Therefore, it is time that the Government comes up with some regulatory measure to check the growth of such therapists,” the court said.