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MMS case: Media comes in for criticism
Onkar Singh in New Delhi |
December 20, 2004 19:41 IST
Last Updated: December 20, 2004 22:07 IST
The Justice Juvenile Board on Monday came down heavily on the media, particularly the visual media, for 'sensationalising' the Multimedia Messaging Services case.
The case is about a boy and a girl of a Delhi school involved in a sexual act. The boy had allegedly filmed the act with his cellphone and forwarded the clip to his friends. The clip was later copied to a video compact disk and put up for sale on Baazee.com, an auction website.
The court also ordered the scribes to neither name the boy, who has been arrested, nor his school while reporting the matter.
Principal Magistrate Santosh Snehi Mann passed the order on a request from the counsel for the school, Puneet Mittal.
Besides the boy, the police have also arrested Baazee.com's Chief Executive Officer Avnish Bajaj in connection with the case.
A student of the Indian Institute of Engineering, Kharagpur, Ravi Raj, who put up the clip for sale on Baazee.com was arrested and released some days ago.
Mittal said minor children, who have to appear for their annual examinations, are being adversely affected due to the media naming the school while reporting the case.
Mann also said she will write to the Press Council of India on the conduct of the Fourth Estate with regard to the case. "I am cautioning you [media] from doing this and [am] writing to the Press Council of India on the issue," she said.
The magistrate said the media is not being 'sensitive', but attempting to 'sensationalise' the issue. "This is not the way to create awareness. I am not advising you, but cautioning you. I will be writing to the Press Council of India on this matter," she said.
She was visibly upset when cameramen from the visual media virtually barged into her courtroom to take the clips of the boy, who was brought under heavy escort. Throughout the hearing, the boy kept his face covered in a manner that only the judge could see him.
The judge also restrained the media from naming the student of the school, as any facts leading to the identification of the accused is prohibited under the Juvenile Justice Act.
She directed that the 16-year-old boy be place under the custody of the juvenile welfare officer for a day.
Mann said the police can question the boy in the presence of his father and the JWO.
The boy will be produced in the court again on Tuesday afternoon.
The Delhi police had arrested him from the Indira Gandhi International airport when he returned from Nepal on Sunday.
"We had sought the remand of the boy for five days to recover the mobile phone with which he had taken the clip and circulated it to his friends. But the judge has given us just one day [to question him]. We will press for one more day's custody if we are unable to recover the mobile phone," public prosecutor Sukhbir Singh told rediff.com.
The counsel for the boy, Amit Khanna, said, "The charge against my client is totally false and he is being implicated in the case." He asked the police to explain how they identified the boy when there was no visual of his face in the clip that was circulated. "My client should be given bail under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, as he is merely 16 years old," he contended.
The Delhi police have registered cases under Sections 293, 294, 201 (destruction of evidence) and Section 67 of the IT Act.
Meanwhile, the top brass of Delhi police is yet to issue any guidelines regarding the use of camera phones by students in schools. "We cannot prevent the technology from being used. It is for the parents and schools to tell the students what is good for them and what is not," said a senior officer of the Delhi police.
With PTI inputs