In the instant case, the Complainant stated to the Police in her complaint that the Accused “had posted several comments in their facebook pages making scurrilous comments against her. The pictures of herself and her husband have also been posted, making her the subject of online sexual harassment.” The Complainant states that these acts of the Accused are likely in response to her story recently published in a book wherein she had levelled allegations of sexual misbehaviour towards her by a leader of youth wing in a political party.

Whilst arguing his side of the story, the Accused sought to challenge the complaint on the grounds that:

  1. The revelation made by the victim in her book regarding sexual abuse against her garnered much attention in the online and print media and the Accused had merely taken part in the discussions wherein the alleged comments were made.
  2. The offence under Section 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 are not applicable on the Accused as per the complaint filed against him.

The Hon’ble Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan pondered upon the first challenge and made the following observations:

“It is evident that there has been a concerted effort to target the de facto complainant herein for having made some references about a young leader in her book. The posts that the accused have posted have been in public domain for quite some time. It is futile to contend that their group is private, as the applicant, even according to him, is a prominent politician. He himself claims that he is the State General Secretary of the youth wing of the Democratic Kerala Congress. He was expected to act responsibly and desist from abusing women or for that matter anyone else. The messages which have either been liked, tagged or posted by the applicant have overtones of the subject raping young men, immorality, masturbation and promiscuous sexual behaviour. The photographs of the de facto complainant, her husband etc. are also peppered in those pages. There cannot be any doubt that the target is the de facto complainant and none else. The applicant had no business to throw muck and abuse at a woman online. After going through the posts which were made available, I am inclined to hold that the de facto complainant has been subjected to gross online sexual harassment.”

As to the argument regarding the applicability of Section 67A of the IT Act, the Hon’ble Judge left it to the consideration of the Investigating Officer for further affirmation during the course of e investigation. On the basis of the facts placed and the arguments advanced, the Hon’ble Court rejected the anticipatory bail application of the accused.

Image Link:

Order Link: Majeesh K Mathew Versus State of Kerala and Other