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Kerala HC restrains rape-accused from using social media in bail order

The Kerala High Court has told a rape-accused that he may not use social media while on bail, until the investigation is over. Muhammed Shifas, who has been accused of raping a woman in Ernakulam district, has been granted bail on the condition that he to stop using social media to protect the survivor's privacy. The context: Shifas has been accused of raping a woman multiple times since December 2018. He had allegedly taken the woman to a resort near Cherai beach, raped her and took nude photos of her. He later used these photos to threaten her. Last month, Shifas reportedly created a Facebook page and posted the survivor's photos on it and demanded ₹1 lakh from her to delete them. Kerala police have charged Shifas under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and the Section 66(E) of the Information Technology Act. Hearing the plea for bail, Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan observed that the survivor's main grievance is that Shifas had posted her pictures on Facebook. Considering these "special facts and circumstances", he wondered why the bail not mandate that Shifas be disallowed the use of social media like "Face Book (sic), Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram etc." till the case is concluded. The Court noted that it could impose any condition it considers necessary based on the facts and circumstances of a case "in the interest of justice". It held each case was to be decided separately, but the conditions of a bail…

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