Supreme Court asks rape accused to share 'iCloud' password with survivor, says it cannot tolerate 'continuous blackmail'

New Delhi: The Supreme Court asked the convicts in a gang rape case, involving a student of a private university in Haryana, to share with the survivor 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, and it is tough to hack it without a password.

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 bonafide 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.

File image of the Supreme Court. AP

File image of the Supreme Court. AP

The trial court had sentenced two of the convicts to 20 years' imprisonment for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, including gangrape and criminal conspiracy, and also under 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 apex court challenging the bail granted to the convicts.

During the hearing on Wednesday, 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 crimes hurt society," the bench observed and posted the matter for further hearing on 15 February.

The apex 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."

Updated Date: Feb 08, 2018 12:25 PM

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