The Supreme Court on Tuesday barred the police from uploading first information reports filed in rape cases on websites, so that the identities of victims are protected. The court said that the identity of rape victims who have died should not be disclosed even if their parents consent, Bar and Bench reported.
Reports received from forensic science laboratories should be submitted to the court in a sealed envelope, a bench comprising Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta said. They added that though it is the media’s right as well as duty to report on crime, it should be done in a “sensitive manner” without sensationalism. Media personnel must refrain from talking to the victims, the court added.
Observing that it is “unfortunate” that rape survivors are treated as “untouchables” in society, the court ordered that the names and identities of complainants should not be disclosed, “even in a remote manner”, PTI reported. The Supreme Court also directed the government to set up one-stop centres in each district within one year to deal with the rehabilitation of rape survivors.
The court issued these orders while hearing a petition by advocate Nipun Saxena regarding rehabilitation and compensation of rape survivors and the protection of their identity. Amicus curiae Indira Jaising, who is assisting the court in the case, had raised the matter of rampant “media trial” of the rape survivors and accused, and called for self-restraint by the electronic and print media, failing which the Press Council of India would have to step in, Live Law reported.
On April 18, the Delhi High Court had asked 12 media houses to pay Rs 10 lakh each for revealing the identity of the minor girl in the Kathua case. On April 25, the top court said that rape survivors should not be named at all in media reports.