May 7, 2020.
By Sharvari Lohakare
A five page letter written by three practising lawyers Anand Varma, Kaustubh Prakash and Shubhangi Jain has been sent to the Supreme Court seeking proper proceedings and stringent criminal action against the boys involved in the recent ‘Bois Locker Room’ Instagram group chat after the screenshots of the chat go viral on the internet.
The letter is addressed to the Secretary General. The letter describes the horrific incident which grabbed major public attention on May 3 and appeals the apex court to take the said matter in hand.
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) took the cognizance of the matter and issued a notice to Instagram and Delhi Police on May 4. Further, the Delhi Police Cyber Crime Cell registered the case under the Indian Penal Code and IT Act on the basis of social media reports. The disturbing act constitutes offence under Section 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Section 506,507,509,465 and 471 of the IPC.
The three lawyers fear that Instagram might delay the proceedings citing privacy concerns. Timely investigation is mandatory therefore it has been urged that the Supreme Court speeds up the probe. They have stated that the entire case has been filed on the reports surfaced online on social media. Tech giants like Instagram often tend to delay the probe by citing privacy reasons. Thus, timely redressal and immediate probe will restore the faith in the process of investigation and a sense of online safety which shaken to the core b y the wrong doers.
The whole episode profoundly questions the safety and privacy of women on online social media platforms. Obscene and objectionable material can be easily collected anonymously without letting the account user know and can be easily circulated and shared comfortably. Apart from this, the most terrifying thought to look at is the attitude of teenage boys objectifying girls, glorifying rape and threatening them with rape, acid attack threats instead of apologizing if exposed. The boys involved are mostly minors and they have glorified rape culture in the online chat. The letter demands serious gender sensitization and juvenile counselling with the intervention by the apex court.
A formal complaint has to be lodged to probe in this matter. However, the advocates approached the court for timely and fair redressal. The letter desires the Supreme Court to address various issues arising therefrom like privacy, safety and wellbeing concerns of women, gender sensitization and counselling for juvenile engaged in such misogynistic conduct. The anonymity of the accounts online is a questionable concern as it has made an easy medium for indulgence in cyber bullying in the name sake of online privacy.