The Delhi High Court has refused to grant bail to a young boy accused of sexually assaulting and threatening the victim to upload her objectionable pictures on the ground that it was not a consensual innocent adolescent mutual love relationship.

The Court further requested the DSLSA (Delhi State Legal Services Authority) to formulate a programme for educating the students, victims, and teenagers about such crimes of posting intimate content on social media.

A Single Bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma held, “To sum up, had it been a case of consensual adolescent mutual love as argued by the learned counsel for the applicant, it would have no place of abusing, blackmailing, inducement, threat, violence, pressurising and threatening her to convert to his religion for the purpose of forcibly getting married to her even when she wanted to get out of the abusive relationship. She was put under fear and threat of social shaming of herself and her family, which does not indicate that it was a consensual innocent adolescent mutual love relationship. … this Court requests Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to formulate a programme whereby they may educate the students, potential vulnerable victims as well as educating the teenagers who may indulge in such crimes without knowing that posting such intimate content on social media without consent of the person concerned is in violation of law.”

The Bench considering the fact that the accused was continuously threatening and blackmailing the victim and that the charges are yet to be framed and the prosecutrix is yet to be examined, declined to grant any relief to the accused.

ASC Rupali Bandhopadhya and Advocate Akshay Kumar appeared on behalf of the State in this matter.

Facts -

An FIR was registered on the complaint of the victim wherein she had alleged that she had met and had become friends with the applicant three years ago, after which, they had started talking to each other on the phone and gradually had fallen in love with each other. It was alleged that one day in January-February, 2021, the applicant had called her to his house, and when she reached there, he offered her juice in a glass after drinking of which the victim became unconscious and upon gaining consciousness after an hour, found herself lying naked.

The applicant had thereafter told her that he had made physical relations with her and had also video graphed the same, and threatened her to keep quiet, or else he would post the pictures and videos on social media. Under such a threat, the victim continued to talk to him, and one year back, the applicant alleged to have again made physical relations with her and was forcing her to marry him by changing her religion and had also thrown eggs and stones at her house on the day of lodging the complaint.

The High Court in view of the above facts noted, “What is more disturbing to note in this case is that when she did not want to have any relationship with him, he started going to her tuition classes and threatening her. He also threatened her that she will have to change her religion to get married to him or otherwise, he will post the photographs and videos of the relationship on social media. … This case, therefore, does not fall under the category of those cases where the relationship is consensual without any threat or criminality.”

The Court further observed that it is a case of sexual assault of the victim based on preparing inappropriate videos and photographs of her which belies the claim of the counsel for the accused.

“… the gravity of offence is aggravated by the fact that the accused was threatening to make public the intimate videos and images that he had captured without consent of the prosecutrix and was using it to blackmail her, and in return was asking for sexual favours. Thus, he was using the sexualised photos and videos as a tool to threaten, socially shame, embarrass, defame and blackmail her to coerce her into sexual relationship”, said the Court.

The Court also noted that in a large percentage of cases of sexual assault received by the Court, the victims have alleged that inappropriate videos or photographs of relationships are made by one of the parties and under threat of posting them on social media, the minor girls are sexually abused who do not understand or know as to how to deal with such situations and that even the Court had witnessed cases where young boys are sexually abused, assaulted, and have been victims of such blackmailing.

Accordingly, the Court denied bail to the accused.

Cause Title- Sakib Ahmed v. State of NCT of Delhi (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:3268)

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