Chandigarh, January 25: Acquaintance with a woman does not entitle a man to misuse the social media and circulate objectionable material, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled. The assertion by Justice Avneesh Jhingan came on an anticipatory bail petition filed by a man accused of circulating certain photographs of the prosecutrix on WhatsApp and sending offensive messages on her mobile phone.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that the prosecutrix was a major. She and the petitioner were known to each other since long as they are co-villagers. Reliance was also placed upon photographs to submit that the prosecutrix had relations with the petitioner, The Tribune reported. 

Justice Jhingan asserted that it was found during an investigation that objectionable material was used by the petitioner on social media. “The fact that the petitioner and the prosecutrix were known to each other does not entitle the petitioner to misuse the social media to circulate objectionable material. Reliance on photographs does not enhance the petitioner’s case. Assuming that the photographs were earlier in time is not enough to permit the petitioner to malign the image of a girl,” Justice Jhingan asserted.

The Bench was told that the petitioner had circulated certain photographs of the prosecutrix. She informed her parents after gaining knowledge of the petitioner’s act. They tried to get the village respectable involved in the matter. But he again circulated photographs. It was alleged that the petitioner forcibly dragged her in his shop an evening before indulging in obscene acts. She was threatened to be eliminated after she resisted.

In his order, Jhingan added that the delay in registering the FIR would not be fatal to the case. The matter was investigated by the Cyber Cell and the FIR was registered on receiving the report. Dismissing the petition, Jhingan said the case was not made out for anticipatory bail, considering the seriousness of the allegations and the case being one where custodial interrogation would be necessary to recover the material available with the petitioner against the prosecutrix.

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