Posting and Uploading Nude Photographs of the Spouse, in Public Domain Amounts to Betray the Mutual Trust and Confidence Which Marital Relations Imply: Himachal Pradesh High Court

The Himachal Pradesh High Court denied the benefit of Anticipatory Bail to a Husband accused of posting and uploading nude photographs of his wife in the public domain. Stating it as “not only serious but a heinous crime“, the Court noted that, “Posting and uploading nude photographs of the spouse, particularly of wife, in public domain amounts to betray the mutual trust and confidence which marital relations imply.”

Petitioner Abhishek Mangla (husband of complainant wife), along with Pat Ram Mangla (father of Husband), Shirli Mangla (Mother of husband) and Meenal Mangla (sister of husband) had preferred 4 anticipatory bail applications.

The Facts of the case

  • An FIR was registered by the victim (Respondent), having FIR No. 41/2020 on 5.10.2020 against the petitioners under Sections 498A, 504, 34 IPC and Sections 66(E) and 67 of the IT Act in Women Police Station, Mandi, District Mandi.
  • According to the complainant, after one month of solemnization of marriage with Abhishek Mangla, the petitioners had started harassing her (Victim) on one or other pretext, particularly for insufficient dowry.
  • It has complained that even the calls of the complainant were being recorded by her husband. Being tired of atrocities of her in-laws, the complainant had called her father and had come to her parental house at Mandi along-with him and at that time, after about 1½ months, her husband had come to Mandi and apologized for his conduct and sworn for not to repeat that whereupon complainant had agreed to accompany him with the consent of her far believing that he will not beat her.
  • But immediately after reaching at home, he had again threatened her to teach a lesson to her father and thereafter again had started harassing and beating her and abusing her sister and parents.
  • It is also stated in the complaint that once, during the night, Abhishek Mangla(Husband)  had snapped her nude photographs on his mobile and on refusal to allow that, he had expressed his anger whereupon victim had acceded to his request and out of fear, she had not raised any voice against him. On asking for a reason to take such photographs, the husband of the complainant, at that time, had replied that he had done so causelessly/without any reason (‘yooh hee’).
  • However, thereafter her husband had uploaded her nude photographs on the internet for some time and had removed after some time.
  • It is the further case of the complainant that in September 2020, husband of the complainant had dictated her to ask her father to provide scooty to him, failing which, he had threatened to post all nude posts on internet along-with name, address and mobile number of her father and when she requested to delete those nude photographs from his mobile then he had slapped her. At that time out of fear, she had even urinated in her clothes and suffered fever also. When she narrated this incident to her father-in-law and mother-in-law, they had also justified the demand of their son and her sister-in-law had commenced that it would not be easy to have scooty from the parents of the victim.
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  • The husband (Abhishek Mangla) of the victim also uploaded nude photographs of the victim on Facebook through fake Facebook ID created by him in the name of the victim and had also uploaded nude photographs of the victim as a profile picture of that Facebook ID and after taking screenshots thereof, he sent photographs to the victim and had also uploaded videos and photographs wherein the victim was nude.

Order and Observation given by the Court

  • The Court noted that the relationship between husband and wife is a privileged relationship. Institution of marriage inspires trust and confidence which leads to complete surrender of spouses to each other. This relation of mutual trust, faith and confidence creates a sense of security and sometimes even more than parents and children.
  • The Court emphasised that it is stripping off a woman in public by the husband himself who is not only supposed but duly bound to protect her, it is not only serious but a heinous crime. Its impact on the soul, mind and health of the victim is beyond imagination. It causes suffering to her beyond comprehension, attracting the provision of Section 498-A IPC. An act amounting to stripping off a woman in public, in my considered view, dis-entitles a person from anticipatory bail.
  • Therefore, considering the given facts and circumstances of the case, nature and gravity of the accusations and impact thereof on the soul, mind and body of a woman, affecting her mental and physical health beyond comprehension, the Court did not find it fit to enlarge petitioner Abhishek Mangla on bail, exercising the power under Section 438 Cr.P.C. Hence, bail petition [Cr.M.P(M) No. 1808 of 2020] preferred by him was dismissed.
  • So far as the petitioners Pat Ram Mangla, Shirli Mangla and Meenal Mangla (Cr.M.P(M) Nos. 1809, 1810 and 1811 of 2020) were concerned, considering their roles as indicated in the status report and as alleged in the complaint, they were enlarged on bail subject to furnishing fresh bail bonds in the sum of `50,000/- each with one local surety each, as undertaken, in the like amount to the satisfaction of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mandi.

Case names: Abhishek Mangla v State of H.P. & Meenal Mangla v State of H.P. & Pat Ram Mangla v State of H.P. & Shirli Mangla v State of H.P.

Case no.: Cr.MP(M) Nos. 1808 to 1811 of 2020

Coram: The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vivek Singh Thakur

Also Read: Power Under Section 41A CrPC cannot be used by the Police to Intimidate, Threaten or Harass: SC

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