A day after the Coimbatore district police issued a statement requesting people to not circulate the videos related to Pollachi sexual assault case, the Madras High Court ordered that all the videos be removed from the internet.
The order came from the Madurai bench of the High Court, on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Ilamugil from Trichy in which he stated that social media plays an important role in our daily lives. Explaining that though social media has many benefits, it has a lot of disadvantages too, Ilamugil submitted that videos, pictures and audio files related to sexual offences are being circulated on social media. His petition also stated that the Supreme Court has ordered that the identity of the victim in sexual crimes shall not be revealed in the FIR, court documents or in the media. Violation of this rule shall invite punishment under section 228A of the IPC which indicates an imprisonment for a period of 6 months to 2 years.
Adding that the SP had recently revealed the identity of the survivor in the Pollachi sexual assault case, Ilamugil asked the court to order a swift completion of the investigation and form separate teams in every district to investigate sexual offences. He also sought an order directing the investigating teams to follow the guidelines set by the Supreme Court in probing sexual crimes. He further wanted the court to ban the publishing of videos, photos and audio related to violent and sexual crimes on social media.
This petition was heard by Justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar on Friday and the bench ordered the central government to ban videos related to the Pollachi sexual assault case on the internet. Since the government order issued for transfer of the case to CBI revealed the identity of the survivor and it was revoked, the court also ordered the state government to issue a fresh GO to effect the same.
Expressing hope that suitable departmental action will be taken on those who disclosed the identity of the survivor, including the SP, the court advocated for proper awareness to be created amidst people regarding videos and internet services in sexual crimes. The judges also ordered that the school textbooks must include content on the pros and cons of internet, and transferred the case to the principal bench of the Madras High Court in Chennai.