The Delhi High Court on Sunday sought responses from the central government and social media platforms, Facebook, Google, and Twitter on a plea seeking complete details of those who uploaded a wrong photo of the Hathras rape victim.
Issuing notice to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technologies and the social media platforms, Justice Prathiba M Singh asked them to place before the court, in a sealed cover, the basic subscriber information of the person(s) who uploaded videos and photos which showed a deceased woman as the rape victim.
The direction came on the application moved by the widower of the deceased in his main petition in which he has contended that his wife's photograph was being circulated on various social media platforms wrongly depicting her as the victim of the unfortunate incident of rape and murder of a young girl at Hathras, Uttar Pradesh.
In January, Facebook, Google and Twitter had told the court that they have blocked or taken down all links which incorrectly showed the deceased woman's photo as that of the Hathras rape victim.
On the last date of hearing, Facebook and Google also told the court that they cannot on their own search for such links and remove them without a court or government order.
The petitioner's lawyers told the court that a victim cannot be expected to keep on providing the links after they have brought the issue to the notice of the social media platforms.
The court had also earlier said that "a victim cannot go on searching for links and making complaints. There has to be some other solution."
The petitioner has also contended in his plea that even otherwise, revelation of the identity of the rape victim is an offence under the Indian Penal Code, though in the present matter image of a wrong person is in circulation.
A 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly raped by four upper-caste men in Hathras on September 14, 2020. She died on September 29, 2020 at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital during treatment.
(With PTI inputs.)