HC calls for protection of sexual assault victims' identity

Mumbai, Jan 30 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Thursday said it will have to pass some directions to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and search engine Google to remove any content that reveals the identity of sexual assault victims.

A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and S P Tavade was hearing a public interest litigation filed by city residents Priyanka Deore and Noel Kuriakose, seeking directions to the state and union government to strictly follow the provisions of law which prohibits disclosure of names and photographs of rape victims.

The petitioners' lawyer Madhavi Tavanandi told the court that revealing the identity of victims of sexual offences is a cognizable offence and punishable up to two years in jail under section 228 A of the IPC.

She pointed out the recent Hyderabad rape and murder case where the victim's name and photograph was published across Twitter and other social media platforms.

The lawyer further said that this content is still available online.

'Some directions are required to be given to such social media platforms asking them to remove these content.

Everybody is expected to follow the law,' Justice More said.

The court further noted that as per section 228 A of IPC, revealing the identity of a victim of sexual assault is a very serious offence.

'It is a non-bailable offence,' the court said.

The bench directed the petitioners to serve a copy of their petition to the union and Maharashtra government and also Twitter, Facebook and Google.

It posted the PIL for further hearing on February 26.