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Active Involvement In 'Bulli Bai' App; Act To Defame Womanhood: Mumbai Court Says Refusing Bail To Accused

Sharmeen Hakim
21 Jan 2022 10:23 AM GMT
Active Involvement In Bulli Bai App; Act To Defame Womanhood: Mumbai Court Says Refusing Bail To Accused
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The three students accused in the Bulli Bai App Case have prima facie committed acts "defaming womanhood," the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate Court observed in the detailed order refusing bail to Vishal Jha, Shweta Singh and Mayank Rawat. While their bail applications were rejected by Metropolitan Magistrate Komalsingh Rajput yesterday, a copy of the order was made...

The three students accused in the Bulli Bai App Case have prima facie committed acts "defaming womanhood," the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate Court observed in the detailed order refusing bail to Vishal Jha, Shweta Singh and Mayank Rawat.

While their bail applications were rejected by Metropolitan Magistrate Komalsingh Rajput yesterday, a copy of the order was made available today.

"No doubt accused persons are students of tender age and they have fundamental right to life and liberty. But those rights are subjected to reasonable restrictions… They [are] found to have committed serious acts defaming womanhood. The larger interest of society is at stake, therefore, their personal liberty can be said to be curtailed without[by] following due process of law."

While the accused contended that they are just followers [of Bulli Bai App] and disseminated the information containing its link, the court said they could not claim innocence.

"Even if it is presumed that applicant/accused persons are just followers/subscribers of the application, at this stage it can not be said by them, that they are innocent. The record shows their active involvement in the propagating it and disseminating of the information/data relating to the women, contained in the App."

The trio was arrested earlier this month and booked under sections pertaining to sexual harassment and promoting enmity between religious groups as also under sections of the IT Act.

The other grounds for rejecting bail include –

Gravity of the Offence

The court observed that the Bulli Bai App was widely circulated. It is shown to be created and followed by people belonging to a particular community, containing data defaming various women from other community, the court noted adding that the creators and followers of the App belong to a different religion as compared to what is potrayed by them. "Thus, there is some ill-intention on the part of creators, and followers of the App and the persons propagating it and disseminating the information about women of particular religion."

Tampering of Evidence

The court held that the possibility of tampering with evidence cannot be ruled out. Accused persons are residents of other states. They are having sufficient knowledge of computer and technical aspects relating to social media platforms. If they never turned up either for further investigation or trial it will cause prejudice to the investigation agency and victims.

Background

The Bulli Bai App case pertains to several politically vocal Muslim women being advertised for an online auction. Several photographs used for the virtual auction of prominent female journalists, activists and lawyers were doctored.

The primary allegation against the three accused is that they were in contact with each other and with the creators of the App. It is also alleged that the accused followed the criminal App, posted and promoted the criminal App through the fake Twitter accounts they had created.

The FIR was registered earlier this month against necessary Twitter handles and the developer of Bulli Bai. The offences are Sections 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion etc), 153B (imputations prejudicial to national-integration), 295A (insulting religious beliefs), 354D (stalking), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 500 (criminal defamation) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of Information Technology Act.


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