On Wednesday, a Delhi High Court bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar directed Twitter to file its response on a plea seeking action against it for revealing the identity of the victim in the horrific Hyderabad rape and murder case. Warning that Twitter could face a huge penalty for not apologising in this regard, the court recalled that some media houses had been fined Rs.10 lakh for disclosing the identity of the victim in a similar case earlier. While Twitter has been given 4 weeks to file its affidavit, the bench posted the matter for hearing on May 4.
The bench remarked, "File an affidavit stating that you (Twitter) will not repeat it. What are you waiting for? If you are not filing the affidavit, we will impose costs."
This petition, filed by lawyer Yashdeep Chahal, demands action against some media houses and social media platforms such as Twitter for mentioning the real name of Disha. The plea argues that Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code has been violated. As per this section, revealing the identity of victims in offences such as rape is punishable with imprisonment that may extend to two years and a fine.
Disha, a 26-year-old doctor was raped and murdered in Hyderabad by 4 men on the night of November 27, 2019. Reportedly, the accused took her to a secluded spot near a toll plaza on the pretext of helping her. Thereafter, they burnt her body. Subsequently, the alleged perpetrators of the crime were arrested and sent to judicial custody.
However, the four accused individuals were killed in an encounter with the police on December 6. While Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar claimed that the deceased persons opened fire and tried to escape, this contention was challenged in the apex court. In December, the Supreme Court set up a three-member inquiry commission comprising Justice VS Sirpurkar, a retired SC judge, former Bombay HC judge Rekha Baldota and ex-CBI chief B Kartikeyan. They have to been asked to submit a report consisting of their findings within 6 months' time.