Le­gal Ea­gle

The ma­jor rul­ings by the Supreme Court of In­dia and High Courts in re­cent past; and the de­vel­op­ments and changes in the le­gal arena im­pact­ing In­dian cit­i­zens.

Alive - - Contents - by San­jeev Sirohi

Delhi HC Fines Me­dia for Re­veal­ing Kathua Rape Vic­tim’s Iden­tity

It is shock­ing to learn that some of the lead­ing me­dia houses in our coun­try have griev­ously blun­dered in re­veal­ing the iden­tity of the Kathua mi­nor rape vic­tim which shook the en­tire world. This should never have hap­pened at the first place. It is known very well that the iden­tity of a rape vic­tim is never dis­closed un­der any cir­cum­stances.

The Delhi High Court had on April 13 taken suo motu cog­ni­sance of the me­dia houses dis­clos­ing the de­tails of the gangrape vic­tim. Among the prom­i­nent me­dia houses who erred griev­ously in nam­ing the rape vic­tim in­clude NDTV, In­dia TV, Repub­lic TV, The Week, First Post, Dec­can

Chron­i­cle, The Navb­harat Times, The Pi­o­neer, The In­dian Ex­press, The States­man, The Hindu, The Times Of In­dia, IE On­line Me­dia Ser­vices Pvt Ltd and apart from them even NCW, DCW, UOI and NCPCR also erred sim­i­larly. It is very rare to see so many prom­i­nent me­dia houses among others get­ting caught on the wrong side of the law.

The court took very strong ex­cep­tion to this dis­clo­sure of name of rape vic­tim which is never dis­closed in public. A Bench of Delhi High Court com­pris­ing of Act­ing Chief Jus­tice Gita Mit­tal and Jus­tice C Hari Shankar in the land­mark or­der ti­tled Court on Its Own Mo­tion v Union of In­dia and Ors while slap­ping the fine of Rs 10 lakh stressed that re­veal­ing the iden­tity of rape vic­tim car­ries im­pris­on­ment. It should never be made public.

Need­less to say, the iden­tity of a rape vic­tim can­not be dis­closed and those guilty of do­ing so are li­able to face pun­ish­ment of up to two years un­der Sec­tion 228-A of the In­dian Pe­nal Code. Ac­cord­ing to sub-sec­tion(1) of this Sec­tion: “Who­ever prints or pub­lishes the name or any mat­ter which may make known the iden­tity of any per­son against whom an of­fence un­der Sec­tion 376, Sec­tion 376A, Sec­tion 376B, Sec­tion 376C or Sec­tion 376D is al­leged or found to have been com­mit­ted (hereafter in this Sec­tion re­ferred to as the vic­tim) shall be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment of ei­ther de­scrip­tion for a term which may ex­tend to two years and shall also be li­able to fine.” All me­dia houses and all cit­i­zens of In­dia must al­ways next time be cau­tious of this and re­frain from re­veal­ing the iden­tity of the rape vic­tim un­der any cir­cum­stances.

Kathua rape and mur­der vic­tim.

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