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Parents Of Minor Rape Victim Approved Sharing Of Their Photograph By Rahul Gandhi: Twitter Tells Delhi High Court

Nupur Thapliyal
4 Jan 2022 10:45 AM GMT
Parents Of Minor Rape Victim Approved Sharing Of Their Photograph By Rahul Gandhi: Twitter Tells Delhi High Court
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Twitter has informed the Delhi High Court that the parents of 9 year old minor victim allegedly gang-raped and murdered in Delhi Cantt area, approved to sharing of their image by Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi on the social media platform. Twitter has filed an affidavit in the plea seeking action against Rahul Gandhi for allegedly disclosing sensitive details and publishing photographs of the...

Twitter has informed the Delhi High Court that the parents of 9 year old minor victim allegedly gang-raped and murdered in Delhi Cantt area, approved to sharing of their image by Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi on the social media platform.

Twitter has filed an affidavit in the plea seeking action against Rahul Gandhi for allegedly disclosing sensitive details and publishing photographs of the minor victim.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had issued a letter in August last year, asking Twitter to remove the tweet for being in violation of Section 74 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and Section 23 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

In an email written by Twitter to the Commission dated August 13, 2021, the microblogging site told thus:

"…we have now received confirmation that the minor child's parents had approved the sharing of image on twitter. We are however in response to your legal request, withholding the reported content in India under our assessment of the applicable local law(s), which we do acknowledge disallows disclosure of such information, including the referencing of parents of the victim, which cannot be disclosed under authorisation."

It has further been informed that while Rahul Gandhi's account was restored, the reported content continues to be withheld.

"The act of uploading Tweets on the platform hosted by the Answering Respondent happens in real time and almost instantaneously. It is submitted that the Answering Respondent does not publish, review or approve the tweets uploaded by its users prior to being posted. It is the author of the tweet who is the publisher thereof, and not the intermediary. In this case, it is Respondent No.1 who is allegedly the author of the Tweet," the affidavit adds.

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

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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