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"This incident raises the issue of not only privacy, safety and well-being of women, but also of sensitisation and counselling of juveniles who are engaging in such conduct,” states the plea.
Even as the unfolding of the ‘Bois Locker Room’ scandal exposed the murky details of a sexual harassment network, a letter petition by three advocates has urged the Supreme Court to take up the matter on the judicial side.
In their letter, Advocate-on-Record Anand Varma, and Advocates Kaustubh Prakash and Shubhangi Jain have stated that while social media platforms have bridged the gap of communication, such incidents prove that “it has become a platform of public harassment of women in particular.” The letter reads,
“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."
The group "Bois Locker Room" is a group on Instagram allegedly run by teenage boys from reputed Delhi schools, where objectionable pictures of women (including underage/minor girls) were being shared, followed by lurid discussions on their bodies.
The group also allegedly shared nude/morphed pictures of girls and threatened to leak them online.
While drawing the attention of the Court to the incident, the letter petitioner seeks that the Court intervene on the judicial side.
“We request that this horrific incident be taken up by the Supreme Court on the judicial side to address the multifarious issues arising therefrom. This incident raises the issue of not only privacy, safety and well-being of women, but also of sensitisation and counselling of juveniles who are engaging in such conduct."
The three advocates have also urged the Supreme Court to intervene as there “might be jurisdictional challenges in pursuing the inquiry and investigation into this offence due to the nature of the offence being such.”
“A directive of the Hon’ble Supreme Court would ensure that such challenges do not become an obstacle in timely inquiry, investigation and adjudication of the allegations (State of West Bengal v. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal (2010) 3 SCC 571).'
The letter petition further notes that such acts committed by the group members constitute offences under Sections 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Sections 506, 507, 509, 465 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code.
The three lawyers have stated that sharing of such obscene and objectionable pictures and vulgar comments by members of the group was reported and brought to light by some women who hold private Instagram accounts.
Soon after the revelations were made, the women who leaked the screenshots started receiving rape threats from its members.
“The leak 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 yeas of age glorify rape, discuss techniques of raping and gang-raping women and objectifying them in the most horrendous manner.”
All the three Supreme Court lawyers who moved the letter petition maintain that the plea has been filed in their personal capacity.