Punjab and Haryana high court takes suo motu notice of accused’s details shared on Facebook
The HC acted on plea of a Ludhiana man, who had approached it on September 8, seeking directions to the police to remove his personal details from social media platforms in the case of theft of a carUpdated: Oct 25, 2020, 13:35 IST
Chandigarh Taking suo motu notice of the Ludhiana Police sharing personal details of an accused in a car theft case on Facebook, the Punjab and Haryana high court has sought a personal affidavit from the Ludhiana police commissioner.
The bench of justice Amol Rattan Singh warned that if an affidavit was not filed, the commissioner would be summoned to the court. The high court acted on the plea of a Ludhiana man, who had approached it on September 8, seeking a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and directions to the police to remove all his personal details from social media platforms, shared by the department upon his arrest.
Last week, when the case was taken up again, the youth told court that police have now removed his details and that the matter be disposed of now. The court, however, did not entertain his request.
“...though learned counsel for the petitioner submits that he wishes to withdraw this petition as the respondents have removed posts from Facebook and other social media platforms and therefore the petitioner does not want to pursue the petition; however, since this is an issue which would be affecting the public at large, this court, while taking suo motu notice of the matter, directs that an affidavit by the commissioner of police, Ludhiana, shall be filed in court, after which the petitioner may be allowed to withdraw the petition,” the bench observed.
The FIR came to be registered on July 21, under police station division 5 of Ludhiana. After his arrest, the commissioner’s office and the local police uploaded his photographs, name, father’s name and address etc on social networking sites, including Facebook. After this, social media users started criticising and abusing him in their posts. Some even reached his house, abused his parents and instigated locals to throw the parents out of the city, his counsel Sandeep Kumar had told court.
DUE TO POLICE ACTION’
“It is settled law that everyone is presumed to be innocent, until and unless proved guilty after due trial. There is no provision in the CrPC to upload photographs of any accused/ convicts on any social media or to display them at any public place stating to the effect that such persons are culprits/accused,” Kumar had told court. He added that the threat to the life of petitioner and his parents persisted as some people were coming to their house, spitting on their door and abusing them loudly.
Kumar added that the father had submitted a representation before police on August 21 to remove all social media posts but no action was taken. The petitioner has suffered and is continuously suffering huge losses and defamation due to the social media posts. Now, even if he is acquitted in the FIRs, still he will not be accepted in society and no one would employ him. His personal, professional and social life is destroyed, Kumar had told court.