No one can Print/Publish Name of Rape Victim- Supreme Court Issues Directions to Protect Victim’s Identity

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December 20, 2018

The seminal issue and concern before the Supreme Court Bench in this recent case was as to how and in what manner the identity of adult victims of rape and children who are victims of sexual abuse should be protected so that they are not subjected to unnecessary ridicule, social ostracisation and harassment.

The said issue raises a serious societal concern as our society still views rape victims as an omen and often boycotts them . This perhaps is one of the biggest reason which prevents rape victims and their relatives to raise their voice against the brutal crime of rape in India, thereby leaving the culprits unpunished and free to move in the society.

In this recent case of Nipun Saxena & anr. v. Union of India, the Supreme Court recognized the difficulties a victim of rape is compelled to face, like difficulty in leading a normal life and finding a job, difficulty to get married. The Apex Court also noted that Indian Criminal  Jurisprudence does not provide for an adequate witness protection programme and, therefore, the need is much greater to protect the victim and hide her identity.

Accordingly, the Bench issued a slew of directions where the identity is disclosed without naming the victim. For instance, the Court held that no person can print or publish the name of the victim or disclose any facts which can lead to the victim being identified and which should make her identity known to the public at large.

The Court also directed that the copy of an FIR relating to the offence of rape against a women or offences against children falling within the purview of POCSO shall not be put in the public domain to prevent the name and identity of the victim from being disclosed.

The name shall not be disclosed to the media and they shall also not be furnished to any person under the Right to Information Act, 2015.

The directions issued by the Apex Court can be accessed here.