A letter petition by three practising advocates has urged the Supreme Court to initiate appropriate proceedings regarding the social media group on instagram titled as ‘Bois Locker Room’. The plea has been filed by these Advocates in their personal capacity.
This letter petition has come after the Delhi Commission for Women took suo motu cognizance of the issue and instituted an inquiry in this issue, seeking a copy of FIR registered in this matter with information about the people arrested in this matter and if not then an explanation for the same along with a detailed action taken report. DCW also sought information from Instagram about each admin and member of the group including their name, user name/ Handle, email ID, IP Address, Location, and other appropriate information.
In a 5-page letter addressed to the Secretary General, Advocate-on-Record Anand Varma, and Advocates Kaustubh Prakash and Shubhangi Jain have stated that the social media platform have become a platform of public harassment, particularly of women, and Anonymity of the accounts has become an easy medium to threaten whoever you want to and indulge in cyber bullying.
It is also an easy platform to be conspicuous and share objectionable, obscene and private pictures, chats and other messages.
On May 3rd, several screenshots were released on instagram relating to a group named “Bois Locker Room” run allegedly by teenage boys from Delhi sharing objectionable pictures of underage and minor girls including nude and morphed pictures and making trashy comments.
The letter states that some women with private instagram accounts called out and brought to light such action of sharing of obscene and objectionable pictures and vulgar comments by members of the group and was reported by them. Following this, these women started receiving rape threats from some members of the group.
The letter goes on to state that the leaking of the screenshots has raised pertinent issues regarding the safety and privacy of women, especially minor girls, on video and photo sharing platforms. It is appalling how boys as young as 15 years of age glorify rape, discuss techniques of raping and gang-raping women and objectifying them in the most horrendous manner.
The letter petition states that such acts committed by the group members also constitute offences under Sections 506, 507, 509, 465 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The advocates have urged the Court to intervene in the horrific incident on the judicial side, and address the multifarious issues arising from it, since the incident not only raises the issue of privacy, safety and well-being of women, but also of sensitisation and counselling of juveniles who are engaging in such conduct.
The intervention is also required since there might be jurisdictional challenges in pursuing the inquiry and investigation into this offence due to the nature of the offence and Supreme Court directives would ensure that these challenges do not become an obstacle in timely enquiry, investigation and adjudication of the allegations.
Recently, the Delhi Police also took into custody a schoolboy, who is a student of a reputed Delhi-school. He has identified 20 more boys, who were the participants of the said group and reportedly studying in 11th & 12th standard, from different schools in the national capital.
-India Legal Bureau