Law

Apologise or Face Costs: Delhi HC to Twitter on Disclosure of Hyderabad Rape Victim's Identity

The court was hearing a PIL seeking action against certain media houses and social media platforms, like Twitter, where the identity of the Hyderabad rape victim had been revealed.

New Delhi: The Delhi high court has warned Twitter that it can face costs of Rs 10 lakh if it does not file its response to a PIL which has sought action against media houses and social media platforms for revealing the identity of the Hyderabad rape victim.

“File an affidavit stating that you (Twitter) will not repeat it. What are you waiting for? If you are not filing the affidavit, we will impose costs,” a bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar said to the social media platform.

The bench said the high court had earlier in a similar matter imposed costs of Rs 10 lakh on media houses for revealing the identity of a minor rape victim and warned, “we do not want to repeat that order”.

It gave Twitter four weeks time to file its affidavit and listed the matter for further hearing on May 4.

The court was hearing a PIL by lawyer Yashdeep Chahal seeking action against certain media houses and social media platforms, like Twitter, where some individuals had revealed the identity of the Hyderabad rape victim.

Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code makes disclosure of identity of victim of certain offences, including rape, punishable with imprisonment of a term that may extend to two years and a fine.

Also read: Disclosing the Identity of Rape Victim Remains a Grey Area in the Justice System

The petition has claimed blatant violation of Section 228A by individuals, media houses and social media platforms by publishing elaborate reports revealing the identity of the victim and the four accused in the Hyderabad rape case on various online and offline portals.

A 26-year-old doctor was allegedly raped and killed in Shamshabad, Telangana, by four men on the night of November 27.

According to the Cyberabad Police, the four accused punctured the rear wheel of her scooter, offered to help her, dragged her to a secluded spot close to a toll plaza and raped her.

It said the victim died due to suffocation and the accused later burnt her body. The four accused were arrested and sent to judicial custody.

They were later killed in an encounter with the police a few days after their arrest.

The petition has said the news reports elaborately disclosed the identity of the victim, including her name, picture, occupation, residence and call details.

The plea has also sought direction to the authorities to prevent exposure of identity on online platforms, either directly or indirectly and blur the pictures which are being published.