While setting a significant precedent, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, comprising of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice SS Sundar asked the Tamil Nadu government to pay an interim compensation of Rs. 25 lakh to the Pollachi survivor considering it responsible for ‘violation of her privacy, dignity and image’.
While sternly condemning the act of the Coimbatore Superintendent of Police R Pandiarajan, who revealed survivors name, against every law which protects the identity of the victim, the total number of videos found in the accused phone and the number of accused in the first stage of the investigation, the Court said,
"The irresponsible conduct of the police office is highly condemnable by this Court and it is appropriate to issue direction to the State Government to take disciplinary action against the said police officer."
The Court was likewise infuriated over the government which while handing over the probe to the CBI, revealed the name of the young woman, the place where she studied, and also disclosed the identity of her brother.
The order of the court came while dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Ilamugil from Trichy.
The petitioner while drawing Court's attention towards the disadvantages of social media and submitted that videos, pictures and audio files related to sexual offences are being circulated over it.
While referring to the recent Supreme Court order of not revealing the identity of the victim in sexual crimes even in the FIR sought Court' directives to the investigating teams to follow the guidelines set by the Supreme Court while probing sexual crimes.
It is to be noted that in case of disclosure of the identity of the victim, shall invite punishment under section 228A of the IPC including imprisonment for a period of 6 months to 2 years.
The case is related to a complaint of sexual harassment, assault and robbery in a town in Coimbatore district which later turned out to be sexual violence and extortion racket. The arrest of the accused in the case was made in the last week of February and it was observed that the cell phones of accused, contained videos of some other women also whom the men may have blackmailed.
The accused were booked under sections 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or use of criminal force against woman with intent to disrobe), and 394 (robbery) of the IPC; section 66E of the IT Act (violation of privacy); and section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Sexual Harassment of Women Act (sexual harassment).
Unfortunately, earlier this week some leaked videos allegedly from the phones seized from the four accused, found its way into the public sphere and created a huge controversy as well as the political storm as some accused allegedly have certain political connections.