Kerala: Facebook post on child victim's details can land you in jail
Kochi: The Kerala High Court has observed that the publication of the details of a child victim of molestation case through Facebook post will attract the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 ( POCSO Act). The court refused to interfere with the order passed by the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to conduct an inquiry against a person in Thiruvananthapuram under the provisions of POCSO Act for revealing the identity of the victims of a molestation case (school children) through Facebook.
An activist based in Thiruvananthapuram, irked by the attitude of the authorities in not prosecuting the accused in the molestation case, had posted the details of the case he had accessed through RTI in a Facebook post. It was an attempt to pressurise the authorities to take action against the accused teacher. The court, on an evaluation of Section 23 of the Act, said it is unequivocally clear that a prohibition is made under sub-section (1) thereto by which no person shall make any report or comments on any child from any form of media or studio or photographic facilities without having complete and authentic information, which may have the effect of lowering his reputation or infringing upon his privacy, the court held.
The petitioner is a public spirited citizen and member of a charitable society constituted with the object of fighting against corruption and for protection of child education, providing financial assistance to children who are financially poor. The petitioner came to know that a teacher had sexually molested three girl children. In spite of the efforts of the petitioner, there was no action forthcoming from the authorities, and therefore, with the bona fide intention to pressurize the authorities, he published a Facebook post. The same contained the name, class, division and school of the child. He, however, deleted the same from the Facebook account the next day.