Man accused of circulating wife’s photos, videos denied bail

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The Sindh High Court (SHC) has dismissed the bail application of a man who is accused of circulating his estranged wife’s indecent photos and videos on social media.Applicant Syed Aadrish Bukhari was booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), along with his sister, for taking photos and recording videos of Bukhari’s wife that were indecent and then circulating them to her family members through social media.

According to the prosecution, the applicant had made a fake social media profile of his wife and circulated her indecent photos and videos to her family members, other relatives and family friends. The applicant’s counsel said that the incident was the result of a misunderstanding between the applicant and his wife, and that he was falsely implicated in the case.The counsel claimed that the wife had hacked his mobile phone and transmitted her photos from it and also saved them on her mobile phone.

He said the alleged offence does not fall within the prohibitory clause of Section 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code, so theapplicant is entitled to the concession of bail.

The assistant attorney general opposed the grant of bail on the grounds that the applicant had been nominated in an FIR for the commission of an offence that seriously damaged the honour and prestige of the victim, and tangible evidence was available with the prosecution to connect the applicant with the commission of the offence.A single SHC bench headed by Justice Zafar Ahmed Rajput said the complainant had stated in the FIR that after their marriage, the accused used to force her to record indecent videos and take indecent photos, refusing which she used to be beaten up and threatened with divorce by him.

The bench said the applicant had been nominated in the FIR with a specific role, and prima facie the prosecution had sufficient evidence to connect the applicant to the offence, so the grant of bail was not the right of the accused in such cases but a concession.The court said that since the applicant was involved in a case of configuring a fake ID of the victim and circulating her indecent photos and videos to her family members through social media, he was not entitled to the grant of bail for the reason that he was connected with such an offence that seriously affects the entire society.

The bench said that the applicant had apparently gone to grotesque lengths to humiliate the victim through social media, which might be a cause of detrimental effects to her.The court said that in another case the SHC had already observed that the impact of circulating indecent photos and videos of a girl through social media was more than the shame and shock that one might feel when she discovers herself to be the victim of the crime.

The bench said that the immediate real-time effect was the social stigmatisation of the victim by blaming her for the photos and questioning her character, which might lead to depression, social alienation and, in some extreme cases, suicide attempts by the victim who could not handle the pressure of dealing with such a targeted vengeance. The court said the applicant was not entitled to any concession of post-arrest bail, and dismissed the application.

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