Does posting a person’s name or photograph on a pornographic website amount to a breach of that person’s privacy?

In the present case, the petitioner’s photographs and images, though not in themselves obscene or offensive, were taken from her Facebook and Instagram accounts without her consent and were uploaded on a pornographic website, adding derogatory captions to them. It is an irrefutable proposition that if the name and/or likeness of a person appears on a pornographic website, as in the present case, without the the consent or concurrence of such person, such act would by and in itself amount to an offence inter-alia under section 67 of the IT Act. This is so since section 67 makes it an offence to publish or transmit, or causes to be published or transmitted, in the electronic form, any material which appeals to the prurient interests of those who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it. The only purpose of posting the petitioner’s photograph on a pornographic website could be to use it to appeal to the prurient interests of those who are likely to see it. That apart, the inclusion of the name and/or likeness of a person on such website, even if the photograph of the person is not in itself obscene or offensive, without consent or concurrence, would at the very least amount to breach of the person’s privacy, which a court may, in appropriate cases, injunct or restrain. It is is evident that such publication would likely result in ostracisation and stigmatisation of the person concerned in society; and therefore immediate and efficacious remedy is required in such cases. {Para 86}

In the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

(Before Anup Jairam Bhambhani, J.)

‘X’ Vs Union of India and Others

W.P.(CRL) 1082/2020 & Crl. M.A. Nos. 9485/2020, 10986-87/2020

Decided on April 20, 2021

Citation: 2021 SCC OnLine Del 1788.

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