Delhi HC restrains circulation of sexually explicit video of judicial officer


PTI, Dec 1, 2022, 1:04 PM IST

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday restrained sharing and posting of a ”sexually explicit” video of a judicial officer and a woman that surfaced on November 29 and was circulated on social media platforms.

Justice Yashwant Varma, while allowing a prayer to ”conceal” the identity of the aggrieved party, said besides being in violation of several laws, circulation of the video would cause irreparable harm to the privacy rights of the plaintiff, and an ad interim ex-parte injunction was therefore warranted.

The judge noted that the full court of the high court has itself taken cognisance of the incident on its administrative side, and pursuant to a resolution, its registrar general has conveyed to authorities the need to take appropriate action for blocking the video over all messaging and social media platforms as well as through internet service providers (ISPs).

”Bearing in mind the sexually explicit nature of the contents of that video and taking into consideration the imminent, grave and irreparable harm that is likely to be caused to the privacy rights of the plaintiff an ad interim ex parte injunction is clearly warranted,” the court said in its order.

”The court has had an occasion to view the content in respect of which the complaint is made. The court bears in mind the provisions of Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, as well as 67A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000, which laws, prima facie would appear to be violated in case further circulation, sharing and distribution of the video were to be permitted,” it said.

The content, if circulated amongst parties and users of the services provided by the defendant number 1 to 4 (social media platforms), would also appear to, prima facie, violate the legally acceptable terms of use as adopted by the defendants, the court observed. The court also asked the Centre to ensure that all further steps as warranted in terms of the communication of the registrar general are taken and a compliance report is submitted in these proceedings.

The order was passed on a lawsuit by one of the persons in the video and it sought a permanent injunction restraining publication and telecast of the ”purported video dated March 9, 2022”. The plaintiff was represented by lawyers Ashish Dixit, Amit Sharma and Vandana Sachdeva. The lawsuit was taken up for hearing on ”urgent mentioning and in light of the imminent and irreparable harm that is likely to be caused to the plaintiff”. The court issued notices to the Centre and social media platforms on the lawsuit and listed the case for further hearing on December 9.

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