IHC moved against uploading of under-trial suspects’ photos on social media

Petitioner cites Interior Secretary, Islamabad Inspector General of Police, federal government as respondents

ISLAMABAD  -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has been moved against uploading of photos of under- trial suspects by the Islamabad police on social media.

The petition was filed by Danish Ishraq Abbasi Advocate who cited the Interior Secretary, Islamabad Inspector General of Police and the federal government as respondents.

In his petition, he stated that it is settled principle of law an accused is presumed to be innocent until proved guilty by the court of law.

He added, “This principle is a norm of international law and is also endorsed by Pakistan. So, any act which injures this right is detrimental to the suspect/ accused. Posting images of the suspect/accused is one such injury that leads to multiple violations of his fundamental rights.”

The petitioner contended that posing pictures and particulars of an accused on social media has become a trend now a days, one purpose of which is to show efficiency by the police officers before the public at large and high-ups and one purpose is to defame such an accused before the public at large before decision of the case irrespective of the fact that such accused is later on is acquitted from the allegations and declared innocent by the court.

He also contended, “In this view of the matter, in case of arrest of accused, police officials are not supposed and allowed under any circumstance to release his photos, images or video interviews which create hate against him or prejudice his trial. Similarly, if any police official releases such kind of information to general public on social media, he will definitely guilty of not only professional misconduct but also guilty of offence which punishable by law.”

“That if there is any circumstance where, it is necessary to release the identity of accused person the investigation officer is bound to submitting an application with detail reasoning through prosecutor in court where remand or trial is subjudice and if court satisfy he may permit the police to publish the identity of accused person on media, maintained the petitioner.”

He argued that according to the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, it is the domain of the Magistrate concerned to order a person to be measured or photographed.

If a Magistrate is satisfied that, for the purposes of any investigation or proceeding under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, it is expedient to direct any person to allow his measurements or photograph to be taken, he may make an order to that effect, and in that case the person to whom the order relates shall be produced or shall attend at the time and place specified in the order and shall allow his measurements or photograph to be taken, as the case may be, by a police officer.

Therefore, he prayed that the instant writ petition may kindly be accepted, respondents may kindly be restrained from posing or publishing the images, photographs and particulars of innocent accused on social media in order to avoid defaming of such affected accused/ suspects in the interest of justice.

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