“We expect the electronic, print and social media to ensure that the photographs of the victims of sexual abuse anywhere should not be displayed either in morphed or blurred form for the safety, mental and physical health of the victims and in public interest.”
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the authorities to take action against the wife of an accused in Muzaffarpur-shelter-home-rape incident for disclosing the identity of sexual abuse victims through her Facebook account.
This is after amicus curiae Advocate Aparna Bhat brought to the notice of the bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur that the Facebook account of the wife of one of the accused in the Muzaffarpur incident discloses the identity of some of the victims of sexual abuse.
The bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice KM Joseph, asked the amicus as well as the state counsel to convey it to Facebook to take down this information so that it is not made public.
Learned Amicus curiae will disclose the names of the Facebook account holder to Mr. Ranjit Kumar, learned senior counsel who will ensure that appropriate action in accordance with law is taken against the persons concerned, the bench ordered.
Photographs of the victims of sexual abuse anywhere should not be displayed either in morphed or blurred form
Last week, the bench had taken suo motu cognizance of the alleged sexual exploitation and torture of more than 30 minor girls in a shelter home in Muzaffarpur in Bihar. It had also expressed concern over media houses revealing the identity of child rape victims and restrained them from publishing their photos and videos even in blurred and morphed forms.
Reiterating the said concern on Tuesday, the bench further said: “We expect the electronic, print and social media to ensure that the photographs of the victims of sexual abuse anywhere should not be displayed either in morphed or blurred form for the safety, mental and physical health of the victims and in public interest.”
It also rapped the Bihar government and said it almost amounted to “state-sponsored incidents”. It also added that such children should also not be interviewed as the consequences may have a very serious impact on their physical and mental health and it will be best if this is left to the discretion of the mental health and other experts.
“We make it clear that the victims of child sexual abuse should not be interviewed by anybody other than an authorised member of the NCPCR and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and that too in consultation with and in the presence of a trained counsellor or mental health expert, particularly in Deoria and the 7 other homes which are the subject matter of the Report prepared by Koshish. Obviously, this will not preclude the investigating agencies from carrying out investigations, but they too will be bound by the directions earlier given by us,” the bench said.