Kerala High Court orders rapist cannot use social media till case is solved

Kerala High Court
The Hindu

Synopsis: The Kerala High Court has asked a 23-year-old man accused of raping and sharing nude photographs of a girl on social media not to access social media as part of his bail conditions.

A rape accused was ordered by the Kerala High Court that he can not use social media while on trial, until the investigation is over. Muhammed Shifas, accused of raping a woman in the district of Ernakulam, has been given bail on condition that he stop using social media to protect the privacy of the survivor.

Since December, 2018, Shifas has been convicted of raping a woman multiple times. He supposedly took the woman to a resort near Cherai beach, raped her and took nude pictures of her. He used these images later to threaten her. Shifas allegedly created a Facebook page last month and posted photographs of the survivor on it and demanded her Rs. 1 lakh for deleting it.  Kerala police charged Shifas in compliance with various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and the Section 66(E) of the Information Technology Act.

Hearing the bail plea, Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan noted that the principal grievance of the victim is that Shifas had shared her pictures on Facebook. In view of these special facts and circumstances, he wondered why the bail did not require Shifas to be disallowed from accessing social media such as “Facebook , Whatsapp, Twitter , Instagram, etc.” before the case is concluded.

The Court observed that it could impose any requirement it deems necessary, ‘in the interests of justice’. It held that each case had to be determined separately, but the bail order conditions should be fair and effective.

Sections 439 and 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908, allow the judge, based on the circumstances of the case, to set in place appropriate conditions to allow bail.

Also, the judge added that the requirement was placed to protect the privacy of the woman. Considering his age and the covid-19 pandemic and in light of the general principle that bail is the rule, the accused’s bail plea was allowed.


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