The Delhi High Court on Monday said a victim of objectionable online content cannot be expected to keep on looking for fresh links and make complaints each time and a permanent solution has to be found to this problem.
The observation by Justice Navin Chawla came during the hearing of a man’s plea claiming that his late wife’s photograph was being wrongly depicted on social media platforms as the victim of Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras rape case.
The counsel appearing for the man told the court that while the earlier links sent by him to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) have been removed/blocked, he recently found 80 more fresh links.
The lawyer said his client cannot be expected to keep looking for links forever and then make complaints each time to the ministry and the social media platforms, like Facebook, Google and Twitter, ought to monitor and remove such content or links themselves.
Taking note of the submission, the court said “a victim cannot go on searching for links and making complaints. There has to be some other solution.”
Facebook, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, told the court that it cannot monitor and remove content or links on its own.
He said that Facebook needs an order from MEITY, the courts or investigating agencies like police to remove or block such content.
Mr Rohatgi, however, agreed with the court that a victim cannot be expected to keep monitoring for the objectionable content.
The court, thereafter, directed Facebook, Google and Twitter to block or remove, as soon as possible, the links which show the petitioner’s wife as the Hathras alleged rape victim.
The court said that if the social media platforms have objections to removal of any link, the same be communicated to it by way of an affidavit.
The man, in his plea, has contended that the photograph of his wife is being circulated on various social media platforms wrongly depicting her as the victim of the unfortunate incident of alleged rape and murder of a young girl at Hathras, Uttar Pradesh.
He has also argued 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. She died on September 29 at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital during treatment.