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Heavens Won’t Fall Down If Rape Accused is Stopped from Using Social Media to Protect Victim’s Privacy: Kerala HC [READ ORDER]

Victim Privacy Kerala High Court
A bench of the Kerala High Court was presiding on a matter regarding the crime of rape. The single bench comprised of Hon’ble Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan who was hearing the bail application of the petitioner, Muhammed Shifas. The petitioner in the matter was an accused in Crime No. 1017/2020 of Njarackal Police Station.

While presiding over the current matter, Justice Kunhikrishnan stated that “heavens will not fall down if a condition is imposed in a bail order restraining the accused in a rape case in using social media, especially when it is to protect the victim girl’s privacy”. 

The petitioner was charged under multiple statutes. The alleged offenses against him her Section 370, 376, 376(2)(n), 509,506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 2 read with Section 5, 5(1), 13, 14, and 15 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The accused was also booked under Section 66 (E) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The prosecution pleaded that the petitioner and the victim were in love. In December 2018, the accused and the victim went to a resort at Cherai beach. The petitioner told the victim that he wanted to give her a birthday gift. When they reached the resort, he committed rape.

The petitioner allegedly also took photos of the victim in comprising positions. After taking the photos, the victim alleged that she was threatened by the petitioner. He told her that if she narrated the incident to anyone, he would leak these photos on social media. After he showed the photos to the victim, he allegedly committed rape on the victim on six separate occasions.

The petitioner has also been alleged to create a fake Facebook account by the name “Rilsila Richus”. Using this face account, he posted the pictures of the victim and blackmailed the victim for IND 1 lakh. He stated that he would delete the photos after the payment of the sum.

The court opined that it is a fact that the petitioner was 23 years old, and the victim was 19 years now. It also has to be accepted that the petitioner and the victim here in love. The court stated that her primary grievance is that her photos were posted on Facebook by the petitioner.

Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the court remarked, “considering the special facts and circumstances of the case, if bail is granted, why not there be a condition in the bail order directing the petitioner not to use social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, etc, till the case is finally concluded. In such circumstances, there is nothing wrong with imposing a condition that the accused shall not use social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, etc, until the investigation is finally completed. I also make it clear that if any final report is filed against the petitioner before the court concerned after investigation and the court concerned took cognizance of the same, the above condition will continue till the trial of the above case is over. 

The petitioner was awarded bail on executing a bond of Rs 50,000 with two solvent sureties.

 

[READ ORDER]


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