Two advocates have urged Delhi High Court Chief Justice DN Patel to take suo motu (on his own) cognisance of the incident of "Bois Locker Room", an Instagram group in which obscene messages and morphed pictures of underage girls were shared.
The participants of the chat room were teenage boys from Delhi who allegedly shared lewd and objectionable content pertaining to minor girls.
The chat room was used for making comments and sharing compromising and allegedly morphed images of minor girls.
Advocates Neela Gokhale and Ilam Paridhi, in a letter to Chief Justice Patel, said the seriousness and gravity of the illegal activities of a large group of boys, discussing ways and means to rape and sexual harass women, including minor and under-age girls via social media platforms, has compelled them to write this letter.
They urged him to direct the authorities concerned to register FIRs for the alleged offences, punishable under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the Information and Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code, against the perpetrators and initiate investigation in the matter at the earliest.
The chat room stirred a controversy after various screenshots were shared on social media recently.
The letter said while virtual platforms and technology have been a boon for enabling people to learn, share and grow, a few of rogues cannot be permitted to dilute the credibility and utility of the social media platforms to perpetuate and propagate their vile and abusive behaviour.
"The mediums which were meant to lend voices even to the voiceless, cannot be permitted to offer its platform as a breeding ground for misogyny and extend all the offline sexism and objectification that prevails, online," it said.
The letter stated that it has been learnt that a group of boys, allegedly from South Delhi and aged about 16-18 years, have created the group chat 'Bois locker room' on Instagram and the contents of the conversation and chats which have now emerged in public domain, are "extremely shocking".
"The content is related to obscene and lewd comments on the private body parts of the women, with further threats and offers to leak morphed nude pictures and circulate them. Private photographs of women and girls were shared accompanied by foul and degrading comments in respect of the girls in the photos. Furthermore, the conversation between the members went to the extent of making plans to 'gang rape' the said minors," it added.
The advocates said the members of the group have urged the co-members to leave the earlier group to avoid being traced and they have made another one 'Bois Locker Room 2.0'.
The aforesaid unfortunate incident is diabolical in nature and invites abhorrence of the collective, it shocks the judicial conscience and impels it to react keeping in view the collective conscience, cry of the community for justice and the intense indignation the manner in which the crime is committed.
"Hence, justice demands that there needs to be punishment meted out which befits the crime, so that it reflects public abhorrence of the crime and that too at the earliest point of time, in order to ensure that not only should the justice be done but it must also be seen to be done," the letter said.
The lawyers urged the chief justice to suo-moto cognisance of the incident and direct the concerned police authorities to register FIR against the perpetrators and initiate investigation in the matter.
"We have taken the liberty to write the present letter to you Sir, seeking suo motu cognisance, since as members of the society and especially as members of the legal fraternity, we are under an obligation not to remain silent spectators in matters of violent crime against women and leave it to the victims alone to fight a lonely battle, in face of such open threats issued to them on the same social media platform, which have further increased their vulnerability and left them exposed to further abuse," they said.
An FIR was lodged by the police on May 3 and a juvenile has been apprehended in connection with the matter.