The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Delhi Police to submit its status report within 10 days in the petition filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in relation to his tweet revealing the identity of the relatives of a rape in 2021.
The Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna asked Delhi Police to file a status report in this regard within 10 days and listed the matter for December 21, 2023. The bench said it will first examine the status report of the Delhi Police and then decide what needs to be done in the matter.
During the arguments, Advocate Swarupma Chaturvedi appeared for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and submitted that the Delhi Police must register an FIR in the case but even though the incident happened nearly three years back, no action has been taken by the Delhi Police. Action must be taken under POCSO, JJ & IPC, we have suggested. It’s about a 9-year girl child.
Meanwhile, Advocate Tarannum Cheema appeared for Gandhi and submitted that the court had not issued any formal notice to him.
Earlier, NCPCR counsel submitted that the child rights protection body wants to support and join hands with the petitioner in the matter.
The Delhi HC is presently examining a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to Twitter and the Delhi Police to take action against Rahul Gandhi’s tweet allegedly revealing the identity of the relatives of a rape and murder victim.
The predecessor bench had earlier issued notice to Twitter, making it “explicitly clear” that no notice is being issued to other respondents.
Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya, who earlier appeared for Twitter, informed the Court that “nothing survived” in the petition as the tweet in question was taken down.
Earlier, the Twitter counsel had submitted that Rahul Gandhi’s tweet violated our policy also, we have already removed that tweet, and his Twitter account was also blocked for some time.
Earlier, the bench had also refused to issue notice to Gandhi and Delhi Police on the public interest litigation (PIL) at this stage.
The petitioner, Makarand Suresh Mhadlekar, who claimed to be a social activist, had approached the Delhi High Court seeking its intervention for appropriate legal action against Rahul Gandhi for allegedly disclosing sensitive information about a rape victim and her family members by publishing a photograph of her parents on his Twitter handle.
The petitioner stated that Rahul Gandhi has violated sections 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, and 23(2) of the POCSO Act, 2012, both of which mandate that the identity of a child victim of a crime shall not be disclosed. The law in this regard is very well settled in a catena of judgments including in the case of Nipun Saxena v Union Of India wherein it was held by the Supreme Court of India, that the name, address, school, or other particulars which may lead to the identification of the child in conflict with law or victim cannot be disclosed in the media. No picture of such a child, or any such particular that can directly or indirectly disclose her identity, can be published.
A child who is not in conflict with the law but is a victim of an offence, especially a sexual offence, needs this protection even more, the plea read.
In August 2021, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met the family of the minor girl who was allegedly raped, murdered, and cremated without her parents’ consent in Delhi’s Old Nangal crematorium. After meeting with the family, he assured his support to the family, the Lok Sabha MP also tweeted about his meeting and shared a picture of him with the victim’s parents on the social media platform Twitter, now X. (ANI)