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Delhi High Court Refuses To Issue Notice To Rahul Gandhi In Plea For Action Over Tweet On Rape Victim Identity

Akshita Saxena
5 Oct 2021 7:14 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Refuses To Issue Notice To Rahul Gandhi In Plea For Action Over Tweet On Rape Victim Identity
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The Delhi High Court today refused to issue notice to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on a plea seeking action against him for allegedly disclosing sensitive details and publishing photographs of family of 9 year old victim allegedly gang-raped and murdered in Delhi Cantt area.The Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh also refused to issue notices to National Commission...

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The Delhi High Court today refused to issue notice to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on a plea seeking action against him for allegedly disclosing sensitive details and publishing photographs of family of 9 year old victim allegedly gang-raped and murdered in Delhi Cantt area.

The Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh also refused to issue notices to National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the Commissioner of Delhi Police, who are also arrayed as Respondents in the matter.

The Bench however issued notice to microblogging social media giant- Twitter Inc. and directed it to file its reply in the matter by November 30.

The development comes following restoration of Gandhi's Twitter handle.

Earlier, Twitter had suspended Gandhi's account, saying that the impugned tweet violated its policies. "We have removed that tweet. It is against our policy as well," Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya appearing for Twitter had told the Court.

Today, Poovayya informed the Court that the account has now been restored, after removing the tweet. "That particular tweet was removed. His account today is operational, without that tweet," he submitted.

Advocate Gautam Jha, appearing for the Petitioner, alleged that the impugned tweets are violative of the POCSO Act as well as the detailed guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in the case of Nipun Saxena v. Union of India. He argued that subsequent events have no bearing on culpability of the offender and insisted that notice be issued in the matter.

However, the Bench made it clear that it is not inclined to issue notices to Respondents No. 1-3, i.e., Rahul Gandhi, NCPCR and Commissioner of Delhi Police.

Notice is issued only on Respondent No. 4, i.e., Twitter Inc. Time is granted to file reply by November 30.

Placing reliance on the judgment of Nipun Saxena v. Union of India wherein the Supreme Court held that personal information and particulars of a victim or child in conflict with law cannot be disclosed in Media, the plea states that Rahul Gandhi's tweet is violative of sec. 23 of the POCSO Act thereby attracting a punishment of minimum six months and maximum one year.

It has also been stated that the aforesaid act is an attempt to take political mileage out of the unfortunate incident by posting the picture of victim's parents on Twitter.

"It is submitted that Rape, particularly that of a minor girl, is one of the grossest crimes committed against children. Disclosure of such crimes to the outside world only adds to the agony of the family of the victim and the victim herself. By doing so the Respondent No.1 has put the lives of the victim's family members at high risk," the plea states.

It also seeks directions on the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to take appropriate legal action against Gandhi. Further, a direction is sought upon the Delhi Police to register an FIR against him under relevant provisions of the POCSO Act.

Case Title: Makarand Suresh Mhadlekar v. Rahul Gandhi & Ors.

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