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Rajasthan HC Directs Registry To Not Entertain Petitions That Disclose Rape Victim's Identity

Akshita Saxena
11 Jun 2020 4:11 AM GMT
Rajasthan HC Directs Registry To Not Entertain Petitions That Disclose Rape Victims Identity
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The Rajasthan High Court on Friday directed its Registry to not entertain any such petitions that are filed in or disclose the name of rape victims.

The direction was passed by Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma in a writ petition filed on behalf of a minor rape victim, seeking permission to terminate her 22 weeks old pregnancy.

The court noted that the case had been registered in the victim's name, despite explicit orders against the same in Petitioner A v. State of Rajasthan & Ors., CWP No. 10309/2018.

In the said case, Justice Sharma had ordered that in matters, such as the present one, details relating to the minor girl shall not be published in any print or electronic media or otherwise.

Reiterating the same, he ordered,

"This case has been listed with the name of victim The Registrar (Judicial) is directed to circulate the order noted above to the Stamp Reporters and Registry for compliance and with the directions not to entertain the petitions wherein name of victim has been mentioned."

The bench further directed the Registry to remove the name of the victim from the cause title in the instant case be.

The law relating to anonymity of rape victims was settled by the Supreme Court in the Nipun Saxena case. Thereby, the Top Court had issued the following guidelines:

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.

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