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‘Considering Age Factor Will Give Adverse Result’: Kerala HC declines Pre-Arrest to 18-Year-Old Accused of Transmitting Morphed Content Online [READ ORDER]

“These kinds of offenses are fast increasing in our society. So, to curb such kinds of offenses, granting of pre-arrest considering the age factor of the petitioner will give only an adverse result. Hence, I am not inclined to grant pre-arrest bail to this petitioner though he is a college student aged only 18 years”, the Judge noted in her Order.

By: Shannia Yesenia, LLB, Prima University.

The petitioner was a neighbor of the complaint and thus, he and the complainant’s family are close acquaintances who regularly visit each other’s home to play with their children. The applicant was alleged to have taken photographs of the wife in his phone, morphed it, and uploaded it on social media using a false account under her name. Learned counsel has stated that the petitioner is a college student currently pursuing his studies. 

“He is totally innocent of the allegations levelled against him. With the very same allegations the defacto complainant has submitted a complaint before the police and Crime No.1450/2020 was registered and when he moved bail application, the investigating agency reported that the offence alleged was only bailable offence. The same was recorded and bail application was closed. Thereafter he has been implicated in non bailable offences under the influence of the defacto complainant who is in inimical terms with the parents of petitioner. In fact, his mobile phone was seized by the investigating agency and major portion of the investigation is over is the submission of the learned counsel,” submitted the learned counsel. 

The learned Public Prosecutor vehemently opposed the application and submitted that the offenses alleged against this petitioner are grave and serious in nature and the investigation is only in progress.

Noting that there was prima facie material demonstrating that the photographs of the wife of the complainant have been morphed and transmitted, in this respect, the court repeated that the ITA was a complete code to deal with the publication or transmission of obscene materials in electronic form.

Moreover, the prosecution has also an allegation that by circulating the morphed sexually explicit photographs and pictures, the petitioner had collected money by using google pay. So definitely, time is required for the investigating agency. The seizure of the mobile phone of the petitioner alone is not sufficient to proceed with the investigation. It was submitted that “The offences alleged against this petitioner is an affront to a decent society. Granting of bail that too pre-arrest bail to such a person would only convey a wrong message to the wrongdoers. These kinds of offences are fast increasing in our society. So, to crub such kind of offences, granting of pre-arrest considering the age factor of the petitioner will give only an adverse result. Hence, I am not inclined to grant pre-arrest bail to this petitioner though he is a college student aged only 18 years.”

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