Delhi HC slaps notice to Google, FB, Twitter for revealing Kathua rape victim’s identity

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Taking a strong stand over revealing the identity of Kathua minor rape victim, the Delhi High Court has rapped and issue notice to Internet giants Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Bing.

“You have done a great disservice to the nation. India has been branded. It is an injustice to the nation and to the victim’s family. This kind of publication is not permissible,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Hari Shankar was quoted by IANS via NDTV.

The Bench issued notices to the companies after their Indian subsidiaries said they were not the concerned entity to reply to the court’s notice on the issue.

Many Internet platforms and social networking sites were extensively displaying the photographs and name of the victim. They cannot absolve themselves for such activities, the bench noted. There are long-term repercussions to the victim’s family, it added.

Under Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code, anyone who divulges the identity of a victim of sexual violence and rape could be sent to a minimum of two years imprisonment.

Earlier on April 18, the court had rapped media houses for its manner of reporting the case, which according to the bench was in “absolute violation of the specific provision of law disrespecting the privacy of the victim, which is required to be maintained in respect of the identity of a victim.”

Section 23 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act lays down the procedure for the media to report cases of sexual offences against child victims.

Delhi High Court asked media houses responsible to deposit Rs 10 lakh as penalty towards the State’s rape victims compensation funds. It sought the response from 12 media houses- The Times of India, The Hindu, The Statesman, The Pioneer, The Navbharat Times, NDTV, Firstpost, The Week, The Republic TV, The Deccan Chronicle, India TV and The Indian Express.

The court has posted the case for further hearing on May 29.

In January this year, an eight-year-old girl, who belonged to a nomadic Muslim tribe, was kidnapped from Kathua’s Hiranagar area and her body was found in a forest area a week later.

On April 9 the J&K Crime Branch submitted a charge sheet in court against the seven accused.

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