Rise of Revenge Porn in India
About a month ago, I received a call from Nashik—at the other end of the line was a lady who sought an appointment with me in a very subdued voice. I allocated a date and time and, to my surprise, found two very young girls, one of them accompanied by both her parents. Their story is tragic and has left a deep scar on me, both as a lawyer and a human being. 
 
One of the girls had filed a complaint against her boyfriend (she was still in a relationship with him) and he was arrested. The boyfriend owns a bungalow and has a job with WNS, a IT company. He had shot nude pictures and videos of the girl and posted them on as many as 125 websites and forums, causing them to go viral. The posts had lurid descriptions about her body referred to her in abusive terms like Ran**. The story of the second girl was even worse. In this case, the boy was her school friend. He had lured her into a sexual relationship with the promise of marriage. He took her to his bungalow, shot explicit videos of private sexual acts and uploaded them on a website with captions that depicted the girl as a prostitute soliciting a client. 
 
What is scary is that even as I write this article, the nude pictures and videos are available on the websites and can be accessed by anyone typing her name and adding postfix of ‘nude photos’ in a Google search. Despite a court order, the police are unable to remove these photos and videos and the girls are left to fend for themselves. I have taken up this case pro-bono and opposed granting bail to the accused as intervener lawyer in all courts including the High Court. The only relief is that the accused boy is still in jail as he is a threat to society. 
 
This an exampleof revenge porn—the publication/sharing of explicit material portraying someone who has not consented to the image or video being shared. Indian law makes it illegal to transmit a “private sexually explicit photograph or film” with or without the consent of the person depicted in the content.
 
As it happens, I am handling at least two cases every month where an educated boy from a respected family either posts his nude pictures or videos of his ex-girlfriend on various websites, or pastes the girl’s face on some nude body and makes it go viral to demolish her reputation and make her existence hell. 
 
Another case that I want to narrate is that of another respectable family from Pune. Such is the irony of our profession that, in this case, I am on the side of the boy, as a defence lawyer and bail specialist. This boy was going steady with a girl who allegedly married another man, even when she was in the thick of an affair with him. This accused, an engineering graduate, in a fit of rage made a Facebook page of the hospital where the girl is working. He used it to upload a series of videos of their private moments. These sexually explicit videos came to the attention of hospital management and they filed a case against unknown persons with the cyber-crime police. During the investigation, the police allegedly traced the IP address of my client and he was arrested.
 
Under Section 67A of the IT Act, 2000, anyone who transmits sexually explicit pictures or videos can be punished with imprisonment up to seven years and a fine that can go up to Rs10 lakh. It is a cognisable and non-bailable offence. Worse, the media coverage alone can destroy the life of the accused and the victim, but affects the woman a lot more. 
 
Through the two cases mentioned above, which I represented from opposite ends, I want the readers to realise that, as a society and family, we need to counsel the young to deal with heartbreaks. We also need to watch for signs of the psychologically unwell and deal with it before it goes out of hand.
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    COMMENTS

    Ramesh I

    2 years ago

    Such cases are on the rise and are more reflective of the breakdown of our value systems, beginning with the family. Most youngsters who fall for illicit relationships do so out of lack of adequate affection from within the family. Hence, we should focus on the well being of family as an institution, as a dysfunctional family leads to a dysfunctional society, leading to many crimes, which are preventable. It's a pity materialism and westernization has made people ignore the upbringing of their children with good values, which alone would make them strong in adverse situations.

    Sudhakar Ojha

    2 years ago

    If our stultified Indian Society allowed boy girl relationship out in open as normal kids would not be secretive and easier to protect.
    Our approach actually amounts to giving excessive importance to sex while the American approach gives less importance, and girls are safer cos they don't need to hide so much.

    Sathya Narayanan Subramanian

    2 years ago

    Dear CyberMahaGuru, there are certain ways to get the contents off the networks, and DMCA is one among time. Let me know if you need any assistance.

    REPLY

    Tony

    In Reply to Sathya Narayanan Subramanian 2 years ago

    Dmca doesn't work on certain sites like gossip forums because if you delete from one thread same pictures are put in other threads. Even in mainstream sites like Facebook and twitter there is lots of revenge pictures and if you delete from one user others upload it without consequence. I think the only solution is to verify consent. If the uploader cannot produce consent then it should be deleted mandatorily when asked.

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