Rape Victim Anonymity : Delhi HC Issues Notice On Plea For Action Against Media For Revealing Identity Of Rape Victim
Delhi High Court has issued notice to Respondents in a PIL seeking action against certain media houses for revealing the identity of the victim and the accused persons of the Hyderabad rape case.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar has issued notice in the petition filed by Yashdeep Chahal to the following respondents:
a. Union of India
b. Delhi Government
c. Telangana Government
d. Press Council of India
e. Facebook India
g. News Broadcasting Standards Authority of India
i. New Indian Express
j. India Today
A PIL was moved in the Delhi High Court, asking the court to take action against the media revealing the identity of the victim and the four accused persons of the Hyderabad rape case.
The plea argues that such exposure of names, addresses, pictures, work details, etc of the victim and the accused persons, violates section 228A of IPC and the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the Nipun Saxena case.
The plea has asked for the following directions from the court:
a. Direct the respondents to initiate appropriate proceedings against the media houses and individuals in accordance with law
b. Direct the investigation authorities in a proper manner so as to prevent the supply of information about the merits of the case to the media or public, prior to the completion of the investigation
c. Order immediate enquiry against officers who have failed to take cognizance against these violations taking place in their presence and against those who have indulged in supply of information to media
The apex court had laid down the following guidelines regarding the protection of the identity of the victim in the Nipun Saxena case:
a. No person can print or publish in print, electronic, social media, etc. the name of the victim or even in a remote manner disclose any facts which can lead to the victim being identified and which should make her identity known to the public at large.
b. In cases where the victim is dead or of unsound mind the name of the victim or her identity should not be disclosed even under the authorization of the next of the kin, unless circumstances justifying the disclosure of her identity exist, which shall be decided by the competent authority, which at present is the Sessions Judge.
c. FIRs relating to offences under Sections 376, 376A, 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, 376DB or 376E of 39 IPC and offences under POCSO shall not be put in the public domain.
d. In case a victim files an appeal under Section 372 CrPC, it is not necessary for the victim to disclose his/her identity and the appeal shall be dealt with in the manner laid down by law.
e. The police officials should keep all the documents in which the name of the victim is disclosed, as far as possible, in a sealed cover and replace these documents by identical documents in which the name of the victim is removed in all records which may be scrutinised in the public domain.
f. All the authorities to which the name of the victim is disclosed by the investigating agency or the court are also duty bound to keep the name and identity of the victim secret and not disclose it in any manner except in the report which should only be sent in a sealed cover to the investigating agency or the court.
g. An application by the next of kin to authorise disclosure of identity of a dead victim or of a victim of unsound mind under Section 228A(2)(c) of IPC should be made only to the Sessions Judge concerned until the Government acts under Section 228A(1)(c) and lays down a criteria as per our directions for identifying such social welfare institutions or organisations.
h. In case of minor victims under POCSO, disclosure of their identity can only be permitted by the Special Court, if such disclosure is in the interest of the child.