Policemen cremate the body of a 19-year-old Dalit gang rape victim in the early hours of September 30, 2020 in UP’s Hathras district.
Policemen cremate the body of a 19-year-old Dalit gang rape victim in the early hours of September 30, 2020 in UP’s Hathras district.
Photo Credit: PTI

The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to look into the complaint of a man who claimed that a photograph of his deceased wife is being circulated on social media platforms wrongly depicting her as the victim of UP's Hathras rape case.

Justice Navin Chawla said if the man's complaint is found to be correct, the government should act on it expeditiously by issuing necessary directions to Facebook, Google and Twitter in this regard. "In view of the submission made, the respondent no. 1 (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technologies) Is directed to look into the complaint of the petitioner (man) and, if the complaint of the petitioner is found to be correct, act on the same expeditiously, in any case, within a period of three days from the receipt of copy of this order, by issuing necessary directions to the respondent nos. 2 to 4 (Facebook, Twitter and Google) in this regard," the court said in an order passed on October 13. The court directed the man to send the necessary documents in support of his grievance to the ministry along with a copy of this order and also identifying the URLs which are currently carrying the offending content.

The court also issued notice to Ministry of Electronics and Information Technologies, Twitter, Facebook and Google on the plea seeking their responses, and listed the matter for further hearing on November 9.

During the hearing, the man told the court that the photograph of his deceased wife is being circulated on various social media platforms wrongly depicting her as the victim of the unfortunate incident of rape and murder of a young girl at Hathras, Uttar Pradesh.

His counsel submitted that even otherwise, revelation of the identity of the rape victim is an offence under the Indian Penal Code, though in the present matter image of a wrong person is in circulation.

The counsel for Twitter agreed that the man can make a complaint to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), and once the information regarding the offending URLs is forwarded to it through the proper channel referring to this court order, the same would be blocked and removed from its platform.

The counsel for Google also made similar submission and said it was merely a search engine and once the information regarding the URLs of the offending content is forwarded to it, it will be deleted or blocked.

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