Sending Friend Request, Not a “Invitation” to Sexually Exploit Others, is upheld by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh through the learned Judge JUSTICE ANOOP CHITKARA, in the case of , Rajeev v State of Himachal Pradesh, (Cr.MP(M) No. 113 of 2021).
Brief facts of the case:
A 19-year-old boy is in custody for taking a 13-year-old girl to a hotel where he engaged in sexual activity with her taken the defence that the victim had sent him a friend request on Facebook. He has petitioned the court for regular bail on the grounds that since she had created a Facebook account in her name, anyone would believe she was at least 18 years old, and this is what he believed about her age.
People use social media for networking, education, and enjoyment, not to be hounded or sexually and emotionally exploited. “The fact that the victim issued the defendant a friend request does not grant him the right and freedom to engage in sexual contact with her, the court concluded.
Due to the fact that social media is a public forum, the single-judge panel stated that it is not unusual for individuals to withhold some information regarding their age and identity.
The Court emphasised that if a minor misrepresents his or her age on Facebook, it does not establish a prima facie inference that the individual is not a minor but a major of 18 years of age or more.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – HARILAKSHMI