Supreme Court Asks Gang-Rape Convicts To Share iCloud Password With Survivor

A bench comprising justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao observed that it cannot tolerate "continous blackmail" and asked the convicts to share the password to show bona fide to remain on bail.

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Supreme Court Asks Gang-Rape Convicts To Share iCloud Password With Survivor

Trial court awarded 20 years imprisonment to two of the convicts for various offences (Representational)


New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the convicts in a gang rape case, involving a student of a private university in Haryana, to share with the woman the password of 'iCloud' where they had allegedly stored her obscene photographs.

'iCloud' is a mobile application used for storing data, including photographs, videos, documents and music.

A bench comprising justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao observed that it cannot tolerate "continous blackmail" and asked the convicts to share the iCloud password to show bona fide, to remain on bail.

"We are concerned about the present situation. There are pictures of the girl with one of you (convicts). It is difficult for us to accept and tolerate continuous blackmail," the bench told the counsel representing the convicts.

The trial court had awarded 20 years imprisonment to two of the convicts for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, including gang rape and criminal conspiracy, and the provisions of the Information Technology Act.

The third accused was awarded a seven-year jail term after being convicted in the case.

However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had suspended their sentences on the pleas filed by them and granted them bail.

The woman approached the top court challenging the bail granted to the convicts.

During the hearing today, the bench asked the convicts to share the password with the woman to ensure that the photographs were not circulated.

"Some of the photographs were unfortunately sent by the girl herself. We are not deciding moral issue here. Somebody is released from jail....It is troubling her (woman) that the password is still with them," it said.

The counsel, representing the woman, told the bench that this was not a case where the convicts should have been granted bail by the high court.

He said that even if they shared the password, he would still argue the case on merit against their release from jail after securing bail.

"We are objectively trying to ascertain your security. After all, they are kids... We will decide later if such kind of crimes hurt society," the bench observed and posted the matter for further hearing on February 15.

The top court had earlier stayed the high court's order suspending the sentence awarded to three convicts by the trial court.

The woman, who has also challenged the grant of bail to them by the high court, had claimed in the FIR that she had taken admission in the private university at Sonepat in August 2013 and got acquainted with one of them.

She alleged that the convicts, who became good friends, raped and forced her to send her obscene pictures and blackmailed her.

The woman claimed that the two others also raped her at the university campus after which she lodged an FIR in April 2015.

The high court, while granting bail to the convicts, had said, "The entire crass sequence actually is reflective of a degenerative mindset of the youth breeding denigrating relationships mired in drugs, alcohol, casual sexual escapades and a promiscuous and voyeuristic world."


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