The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday directed Medical Superintendent SKIMS, Medical College Bemina, to explain how medical report of Bandipora alleged rape victim was leaked on social media sites.
The alleged rape of a minor girl at Sumbal in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district earlier this month had triggered outrage across the Valley.
Hearing its suo-moto Public Interest Litigation against the alleged rape, the bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar issued notice to the Medical Superintendent to explain how the reports were made public and why no confidentiality was maintained.
The directions came after victim’s counsel, ShafaqatNazir, informed the court that reports related to medical examination of the victim were being circulated on the social media.
Advocate Farah Bashir, who assists as amicus curiae, told the court that the medical report mentions the name of the victim and its circulation in itself constitutes an offence under Section 23 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Disapproving of making the medical reports public, the court said the reports should have been in possession of the hospital and the investigating agency probing the case.
With regard to the posters on vehicles disclosing the name of the victim, the court directed the IGP Traffic, Kashmir, to issue directions to the traffic police to ensure the material displaying the victim is removed. “This is completely impermissible activity in law,” the court said.
On behalf of the social media site face book, advocate Faisal Qadri submitted that Unique Resource locators (URLs) of the persons who have posted the offensive posts as well as specific order regarding removal of such posts was necessary.
With regard to the URLs of the posts which are identifiable from the report of the amicus curie, the court directed the Facebook to immediately remove the same from its website.
In his status report, the IGP Kashmir, S P Pani, informed the court about the status of the investigation and that the charge sheet has been presented before the District and Sessions Judge, Bandipora.
The Sessions Court, the bench said, is expected to proceed in the matter expeditiously by ensuring all rights of the victim.
After it was informed that the order dated 17 May 2019 had not been communicated to M/s Google and Youtube, the court asked its Registry to ensure that a copy of the last order is sent to them before the next date of hearing.
In response to the notices issued to the five newspapers on behalf of Urdu daily Ilhaaq advocate S M Ayoub filed the response on behalf of Urdu daily Ilhaaq and advocate Syed Musaib filed it on behalf of Kashmir Glory.
On behalf of Kashmir observer, advocate T H Khawaja, sought adjournment to file his response.
Advocate Muhammad Ashraf Wani appeared on behalf of Kashmir Vision &Daily Afaaq. The court sought the responses within a week.
After Senior Additional Advocate General B A Dar submitted that a copy of the report filed on behalf of the J&K State Legal Services Authority was with him, the court asked him to file the same before the Registry within two days.
The court was informed that an interim compensation of Rs one lakh has been released by the District Legal Services Authority, Bandipora to the victim. The court listed the matter for further consideration on 3 July, 2019.