The Delhi High Court on Wednesday impleaded Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bing and YouTube as Respondents in the Petition initiated by it against media houses which had disclosed the identity of the eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Kathua.
During the hearing, the Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar was informed that along with such media houses, several internet platforms and social networking sites were also extensively displaying the photographs and names of the victim.
Issuing notice to these websites, the Court clarified that as far as the liability of these intermediaries is concerned, Sections 2(w) and 79(3)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 would be examined in this context during the next date of hearing.
The order was issued on a suo motu petition initiated by the Court on 13 April, when it had appointed Senior Advocate Arvind Nigam and Advocate Rajshekhar Rao as the amicus curiae in the case.
The Court had last week directed all such media houses to pay Rs. 10 lakhs as fine towards victim compensation fund maintained by the Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Services Authority for disbursement to victims/ families of the deceased victims of sexual violence.
While apologizing for their conduct, the media houses had submitted that the reporting “was on account of ignorance of the requirement of law and on a misconception that the reporting would facilitate the prosecution of the persons in right earnest”.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the Court was informed that eight media houses- The Hindu, The Statesman, NDTV, Firstpost, The Week, Republic TV, India TV and IE Online Media Services Pvt. Ltd. – had already deposited the amount, as directed by the Court. Besides, further time was sought by the Time of India, and was accordingly granted.
Five more media houses were issued notices, with Mr. Nigam pointing out that these had also revealed the name and photographs of the victim.