SC rejects Dileep’s plea for a copy of visuals of Malayalam actor sexual assault

However, the court has allowed Dileep to inspect the video, without violating the privacy of the survivor actor.
SC rejects Dileep’s plea for a copy of visuals of Malayalam actor sexual assault
SC rejects Dileep’s plea for a copy of visuals of Malayalam actor sexual assault

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected actor Dileep’s plea to access a copy of the memory card containing video clippings of the assault of a female actor in 2017. Citing the overarching privacy and safety concerns of the survivor, the top court withheld permission to the accused to access a copy of the memory card which contains video recording of the assault. However, the court has allowed Dileep to inspect the video subject to conditions securing privacy of the actress, reported Bar and Bench.

Dileep, who is accused of masterminding the abduction and attack of the actor from Kerala in 2017, had moved the apex court claiming that the video clipping of the attack, transferred from main accused Pulsar Suni’s phone and stored in the memory card, were doctored. He added that accessing a copy of it could help prove his innocence.

The court rejected the plea after the Kerala government had asked for a copy of the visuals not to be furnished to Dileep, considering the safety and privacy of the survivor. The Kerala government’s counsel Renjith Kumar argued against Dileep being allowed to access the attack visuals, despite informing the court that the government was treating the memory card as a ‘document’. 

As per section 207 of the CrPC, a magistrate is supposed to furnish to the accused free of cost and without delay, copies of police reports, FIR and any other “document” or relevant extract forwarded to the magistrate along with the police report. The top court cited the section while accepting the accused’s plea. 

The apex court while posing the question to the Kerala government had earlier stated that if the memory card was treated as a document, then the trial court could decide whether to furnish a copy of its contents to Dileep and if so, how much of the document – whether partial or entire recording – should be handed over to the accused. 

If the memory card had, instead, been treated as a material object or evidence attached to the chargesheet, then the accused need not be supplied with a copy of the visuals. 

The actor, who stands 8th accused in the case, has also been allowed to view the visuals stored in the memory card by the court on multiple occasions. He was even shown the video clipping in a laptop inside the magistrate’s chambers in the Angamaly first class judicial magistrate court without the consent of the survivor, the prosecution or any other aggrieved party. 

Further, the Kerala government had also told the court that, "Forensic examination of that memory card has not revealed any addition, deletion or any type of tampering. Therefore it is reasonably concluded that the contents of the memory card and the visuals recorded in the original phone are the same.” 

Dileep’s plea to the top court demanding a copy of the attack visuals has been widely regarded as a delay tactic employed by the actor to push the trial. His plea was also considered dangerous as furnishing a copy of the visuals in the memory card could increase the risk of the sensitive content being spread, distributed or used in any manner to threaten the safety and privacy of the survivor. 

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