Posting intimate pictures/videos on social media without consent is crime; prepare programme to educate teenagers: Delhi High Court to DSLSA

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The Delhi High Court recently asked the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to formulate a programme to educate teenagers that posting intimate content on social media/ internet without the consent of the other person is a violation of law and a crime.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma passed the order noting that there are many cases where victims have alleged that they were sexually abused because their partner made inappropriate videos or photographs of their relationship and then threatened to post them on social media.

“Therefore, in cases of sexual assault without consent or under some inducement, inappropriate videos and photographs are captured which are used for a long time for blackmailing the victims and continuing the sexual abuse. Even at times, this Court has witnessed cases where young boys have been sexually abused, assaulted and have been victims of such blackmailing,” the bench noted.

The Court passed the order while denying bail to one Sakib Ahmed.

It was stated that the accused met and became friends with a minor girl three years back. In January-February 2021, Ahmed allegedly called the girl to his house and established physical relations with her. He said that he had made a video of the incident and would post it on social media if she did not keep quiet.

It was further alleged that one year back, the applicant had again made physical relations with her and he was now forcing her to marry him by changing her religion. It was stated that on the day of lodging of present complaint, the applicant had thrown eggs and stones at her house.

Ahmed’s counsel argued that he had been falsely implicated in the case and the relationship was consensual.

After considering the case, Justice Sharma said that the record reveals that the applicant not only established physical relations with her on the pretext of getting married to her and had continued to do so, but he had also videographed the same.

The Court noted this is not a case one of consensual adolescent mutual love because had it been so, “it would have no place of abusing, blackmailing, inducement, threat, violence, pressurising and threatening her to convert to his religion for the purpose of forcibly getting married to her even when she wanted to get out of the abusive relationship”

“She was put under fear and threat of social shaming of herself and her family, which does not indicate that it was a consensual innocent adolescent mutual love relationship.”

The Bench added that the gravity of offence is aggravated by the fact that the accused was threatening to make public the intimate videos and images that he had captured without consent of the prosecutrix and was using it to blackmail her, and in return was asking for sexual favours.

“In view of the foregoing discussion, and considering the fact that the applicant/accused is continuously threatening and blackmailing the prosecutrix and the charges are yet to be framed and the prosecutrix is yet to be examined, this Court is not inclined to grant any relief to the applicant at this stage,” the Court ordered.

Additional Standing Counsel Rupali Bandhopadhya appeared for the state.

No appearance was given for the applicant.

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