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SC bars Media from revealing identity of rape and sexual assault victims

Team SoOLEGAL 11 Dec 2018 1:01pm

SC bars Media from revealing identity of rape and sexual assault victims

The Supreme Court today restrained the media from revealing the names and identities of victims of sexual assault, in any manner.

While delivering the judgment in an application relating to the protection of the identity of survivors, the Court said that the media cannot disclose the identity of the victims to the public in any manner.

The verdict was passed in an application filed in Nipun Saxena v. Union of India, the main matter. On the last date of hearing, the Court had reserved its judgment on the question of interpretation of Section 23 of the POCSO Act and Section 228A of the IPC – both of which prohibit the publication of names of victims – and Section 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act.

In the judgment delivered by Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, the Court observed that victims of sexual offenses are treated as “untouchables” and are often ostracised.

It is unfortunate that a victim of sexual assault is often treated as though she’s at fault and has to face a social boycott, the Court noted.

Noting that the media not only has the right but also the duty to report on crime, the Court said that the same should be done in a sensitive manner without sensationalizing such cases. Talking to the victims by media persons should be refrained from, the judgment said.

The Court has also barred the uploading of FIRs filed in rape cases and under POCSO Act on websites, in order to protect the identity of the victims. Any reports from FSL laboratories or those to be submitted to the Court must be submitted in sealed covers.

In addition to the name of the victim, even remote details that can result in disclosing the identity of the victim must be protected, and should not be put in the public domain, the Court further held.

The Court also ordered that identity of rape victims, who have died, should not be disclosed even if the parents of the victim consent to the same.

The Court also directed for one-stop centers to be set up in each district to deal with the rehabilitation of victims of sexual assault. The same should be done within a period of one year, the judgment states.

Tagged: Supreme Court   judgment   sexual assault victims   victims of sexual assault   Courts Act   Section 228A   IPC   POCSO Act   Justice Madan B Lokur   Justice Deepak Gupta  
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