A representation has been made before the Delhi High Court, asking the court to take suo moto cognizance of the 'Bois Locker Room' matter for offences punishable under POCSO Act, IPC, and the Information Technology Act.
By a letter preferred to Chief Justice DN Patel, Advocates Neela Gokhale and Ilam Paridi seek court's direction to appropriate authorities to register FIRs against the perpetrators and initiate investigation in the said matter.
The letter describes the matter as:
'...a group of boys, allegedly from South Delhi, aged about 16-18 years of age, have created a group chat on Instagram, a social media platform,
under the name and style of 'Bois locker room'. The contents of the conversation and chats on the group, which have now emerged in public domain, are extremely shocking. The content is related to obscene and lewd comments on the private body parts of the women, with further threats and offers to leak morphed nude pictures and circulate them. Private photographs of women and girls were shared accompanied by foul and degrading comments in respect of the girls in the photos. Furthermore, the conversation between the members went to the extent of making plans to 'gang rape' the said minors.'
It is informed to the court that photographs that are being posted in the chat were taken without the consent of the depicted women/girls, and shared amongst the groups. The comments which follow the photographs are extremely objectionable and of highly pornographic nature.
'It shocks the conscience of any right-thinking member of society to see that school going boys are indulging in border line pedophilia and misogynistic behavior and are using social media platforms to perpetrate crimes against women and propagate rape culture', the letter states.
It is further submitted that after the group was reported and the content therein was leaked by one of the members, the page has been taken down with its members deserting the group.
However, a new Instagram group has come up titled 'Bois Locker Room 2.0', which beguiles women who call themselves feminists, while openly giving death threats and using derogatory abusive language against women.
The said matter, the letter states, was also brought up before the school authorities two months ago, but no action was taken on it. It is also informed that so far no formal FIR has been registered in the present matter.
The letter further states that the aforesaid activities of those involved in the group amount to commission of serious offences under various provisions of the POCSO Act including Section 13 dealing with use of child for pornographic purpose;
Section 15 dealing with punishment for storage of pornographic material involving child; as well as Sections 354 (A)(1)(iv), 499, 503, 507and 509 of the IPC, and S. 66 (E) of the Information and Technology Act, 2008.
Further, it is informed that under the POCSO Act, the social media platforms are under obligation to report and provide information to the Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police in regard to such content being posted and shared in its platform and the social media platform cannot stop at simply taking down the objectionable content.
As the incident has shocked the judicial conscience, and warrants immediate call for justice, the Petitioner has asked the court to take suo moto cognisance of this matter.
The letter states:
'...while virtual platforms and technology have been a boon for enabling people to learn, share, and grow, few handful rogues cannot be permitted to dilute the credibility and utility of the social media platforms, to perpetuate and propagate their vile and abusive behavior. The mediums which were meant to lend voices even to the voiceless, cannot be permitted to offer its platform as a breeding ground for misogyny and extend all the offline sexism and objectification that prevails, online.'
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