The Kerala High Court has observed that no person, whether is the media or Governmental agencies, have the right to peep into the private lives of the citizens, without there being a valid reason.

Justice VG Arun held that the personnel vendetta of certain media personalities are no excuse for impinging the privacy of citizens.

“It is disheartening to note that, atleast some online news channels are in the habit of publishing sleaze more than news. A section of the public also devours such sensational and salacious news. In the absence of any mechanism to curb the menace, it is for those channels to introspect and decide whether, by the action of a few, faith in the fourth estate, a powerful pillar of our democracy, is getting eroded.”, the Court remarked.

Advocate I.V.Pramod appeared for the appellants whereas K.Nandini, Public Prosecutor appeared for the State.

These observations were made by the Court while dismissing the appeal filed by two media persons working in an online channel who were accused of publishing news items containing disparaging remarks against a woman and picturised her as a lady of loose morals.

The accused persons were booked for offences punishable under Sections 354A (1)(iii), 354A (iv) of Indian Penal Code, Sections 66E and 67A of Information Technology Act and Sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s), 3(1)(w)(ii) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Court observed that publication of another person's private moments for public viewing is, by itself, an offensive act, even if there is no law preventing such action.

The Court rejected the contention that there is no material or circumstance to attract the offences under the PoA Act.

“…the specific allegation is that the appellants had knowledge that the 2nd respondent belongs to Scheduled Tribe. If so, publication of news and videos containing scenes intended to insult or abuse the 2nd respondent is sufficient to attract the offences under the PoA Act. Hence, the contention that there is no material or circumstance to attract the offences under the PoA Act can only be rejected.”, the Court noted.

Thus the Court dismissed the plea by the accused.

Cause Title- Sumesh G.S @ Sumesh Marcopolo v. State of Kerala

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