HC raps Google, Facebook, Twitter for revealing identity of Kathua rape victim

Kathua rape

The Delhi High Court observed that the entities cannot absolve themselves of the illegal activities on their websites and that the law was the same for everyone.

Google and other social media platforms have done a great disservice to the nation by uploading contents which revealed the identity of an eight-year-old girl who was raped and killed in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, the Delhi High Court said on Friday.

The court issued notice to social media platforms Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube after their Indian subsidiaries told the bench that they were not the entity concerned to reply to the court's notice on the issue.

"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 said.

The bench also said messages and images were circulated on Whatsapp showing India in a bad light. It also observed that the entities cannot absolve themselves of the illegal activities on their websites and that the law was the same for everyone.

The court was informed by the counsel for the social media platforms that the court has arrayed as parties the Indian subsidiaries which were not responsible for the contents on the websites and it should make the parent companies a party.

It also asked the counsel for the foreign entities to take instructions as to how much they were willing to deposit to the Jammu and Kashmir Victim Compensation Fund as compensation for the victims.

The bench also stayed the proceedings initiated by the Press Council of India (PCI) under the Press Council Act against some of the media houses for disclosing the identity of the child victim in the rape case.

The PCI has initiated the proceedings on receiving a reference from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting regarding the suo motu cognizance taken by the high court in the Kathua rape case.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on May 29.

It was also informed by one of the counsel that in Srinagar, the child victim's photographs were pasted on autos and buses. To this, the court said it was conscious of its boundaries and limitations, and would pass such orders which could be executed.

The bench had earlier observed that the names or photographs of a sexual abuse victim should not be revealed as such actions have long term "detrimental consequences".

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HC raps Google, Facebook, Twitter for revealing identity of Kathua rape victim

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