Pollachi case: HC asks govt to pay Rs 25 lakh to victim for revealing identity

Madurai Bench of the Madras high court yesterday ordered the Tamilnadu government and the police department to pay a compensation of at least Rs 25 lakh to the Pollachi case victim for revealing her identity.

The Coimbatore police and later the state home secretary in his G.O. transferring the investigation to the CBI had mentioned the details of the victim, which the court termed as “violation of privacy, dignity and image”. The government was asked to withdraw the GO transferring the case to CBI and was also directed to issue a fresh order deleting details of the victim.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Ilamugil of Trichy who sought ban on social media circulating videos, audio files and photos related to crimes such as rape. In this regard, the bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar pointed out that Sec 228(A) of IPC and the Supreme Court order in 2012 in Nipun Saxena and another Vs Union of India and others have been violated by the disclosure of the victim’s identity in this case.

The judges in their order condemned R Pandiarajan, Coimbatore SP, for revealing the total number of videos he had received and the number of the culprits during the first stage of investigation and directed the State government to take disciplinary action against the police officer.

Pointing out that the video was circulated and viewed every day by lakhs of people through social media, the judges expressed their anguish over the Pollachi sex crime. They noted that such videos impact minds and ordered the Central Government and the Internet Service Providers Association of India at New Delhi to prohibit circulation of the scandalous Pollachi videos. Dr Shalini, a renowned psychiatrist in Chennai had stated that she has been receiving male patients reporting that they got excited seeing such scandalous videos and that they also wished to perform the same horrible acts, said the judges.

The court further directed the state government to give psychological counseling to Pollachi scam victims in any other town/place other than Pollachi so that their identity would be safeguarded.

The judges also ordered the Central and the state governments to respond on the Supreme Court order to set up ‘One Stop Centres’ to deal with rape cases in the country and directed them to create public awareness on this issue through films, short films and pamphlets giving details of the advantages and disadvantages of using Internet and also to include this as a chapter in school and college syllabi.

NT Bureau