18 Aug 2022 2:00 AM GMT
A Sessions Court in Kerala recently denied bail to a YouTuber who allegedly insulted a woman belonging to a Scheduled Tribe through an interview published on social media on the ground that he had intentionally telecasted the video to humiliate the woman. Ernakulam Sessions Judge Honey M. Varghese dismissed the bail application observing that enlarging him on bail at this stage would send a...
A Sessions Court in Kerala recently denied bail to a YouTuber who allegedly insulted a woman belonging to a Scheduled Tribe through an interview published on social media on the ground that he had intentionally telecasted the video to humiliate the woman.
Ernakulam Sessions Judge Honey M. Varghese dismissed the bail application observing that enlarging him on bail at this stage would send a wrong message to the society, particularly since he had reiterated his stand against the woman despite having been denied bail by the High Court.
"Though the videos were withdrawn now, the act on the side of the petitioner even after the dismissal of Bail Application by the Hon'ble High Court shows that the petitioner telecast the video intentionally to humiliate and insult the defacto complainant. The recovery is effected in this case. The petitioner was arrested on 29/07/2022 and 15 days are over now. But considering the present scenario of circulating and telecasting news in social media and other platforms humiliating and insulting the privacy of individuals, I hold that granting bail at this stage is too early and will give a wrong message to the society."
Recently, a woman employee working under journalist T.P Nandakumar at his online channel had accused him of verbally abusing her and forcing her to make a morphed video of a lady minister. Nandakumar was arrested and released on bail last month.
The petitioner is the Managing Director of an online news channel 'True TV', which is professed to have a viewership of more than five lakhs.
Provoked by the arrest of a friend and fellow media person, the petitioner telecasted an interview of the woman's husband and father-in-law on his channel. The interview which aired through the petitioner's online media was uploaded on YouTube and widely circulated through Facebook as well.
He was soon booked on the allegation that the interview spewed insult, hatred and ill-will against the members of the Scheduled Tribe community, apart from abusing and ridiculing the victim. The petitioner is accused of committing offences punishable under sections 354A(1)(iv), 509, 294(b) of IPC, Sections 66E and 67A of the Information Technology Act and Sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s) and 3(1)(w)(ii) of the SC/ST Act.
Apprehending arrest in this case, the petitioner had earlier moved the High Court seeking pre-arrest bail. However, this application was dismissed by a Single Judge with the observation that the digital presence of the victim through the internet is sufficient to qualify as 'public view' as contemplated under Section 3 of the SC/ST Act.
Thereafter, the petitioner approached the Sessions Court praying for regular bail in the case.
Advocate Thomas J.Anakkallunka appearing for the petitioner submitted that all the controversial videos had been withdrawn from the online channel and that this was conceded by the defacto complainant as well. The petitioner further argued that this may be taken as a positive sign on his part and prayed that bail be granted on that ground.
The petitioner also contended that he was taken into custody on 29 July and recovery of the camera, memory card and hard disc used to capture and upload the visuals were effected on August 2. Therefore, it was submitted that the investigation is almost over and the further detention of the petitioner is not at all required.
Public Prosecutor Manoj G.Krishnan vehemently opposed the bail application and submitted that even at the time of arrest of the petitioner herein he humiliated the defacto complainant.
The defacto complainant appeared through Advocate K. Nandini and submitted that the petitioner posted new videos in YouTube to support his ex-employer Nandakumar, which humiliated her and affected her privacy as well. She contended that the impugned interview caused insult, hatred, abuse and ill-will against her.
The Sessions Court agreed that the act of withdrawal was definitely a positive gesture.
However, it highlighted the report of the investigating officer where it was stated that the petitioner had reiterated that the contents of the video telecast are true even after the dismissal of his bail application by the High Court.
Further, it is also brought to the notice of the court that Nandakumar had telecast another video appreciating the acts of the petitioner and acknowledging his acts as 'correct' since the defacto complainant 'deserved it'. The Sessions Judge opined that this portrayed that the petitioner and Nandakumar were hand in glove to humiliate and insult the defacto complainant herein.
Therefore, though the videos had been withdrawn, it was held that the pursuant acts of the petitioner establish that he telecast the video intentionally to humiliate and insult the defacto complainant.
As such, it was held that the petitioner was not entitled to get bail at this stage and the bail application was thereby dismissed.
Case Title: Sooraj V. Sukumar v. State of Kerala & Ors.
Click Here To Read/Download The Order