The Punjab and Haryana High Court last week opined that the fact that one is a member of the social media group where an objectionable video was circulated makes him/her an accomplice to the offence. Justice Suvir Sehgal was hearing an application for anticipatory bail in a FIR under Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 354-A IPC (Sexual harassment), Sections 384 (extortion) and 120-B IPC and Section 8 (sexual assault) of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The petitioner before the Court was an unmarried girl aged 26 years.
The tutor had uploaded the video in a Social Media group of which the present petitioner (namely, Paramjeet Kaur), is a member, besides 4 other males. The victim stated that all the accused used to threaten to molest her and were extracting money from her. She stated that she did not report the incident earlier because she was scared that her parents will reprimand her. The statement of victim was recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C.
The Counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the petitioner is innocent and has been falsely implicated. According to the counsel, the petitioner is working as a computer operator in a private hospital, and had taught the complainant after finishing her job for about 2-3 months. The father of the complainant used to drop and pick her up from the house of the petitioner at around 10 PM every night.
“The FIR has been registered on the statement of a 16 years old girl that implicates the petitioner. The accused including the petitioner used to threaten her as a result of which, she was so scared that for three years she did not even report the incident to her parents“, observed the Single Judge.
“The life of a young child has been ruined as a result of the social media abuse that she has gone through in her formative years”, stated the bench, and considering the gravity of the offence and the fact that the victim was a minor girl of 13 years of age at the time of alleged occurrence on social media , ruled that the petitioner is not entitled to the concession of anticipatory bail.