The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Centre’s response to a plea seeking action against media houses for revealing the identity of the woman in the Telangana murder and alleged rape case, reported Live Law. A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notices to the Centre, the governments of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, as well as some media houses and social networking platforms.
Petitioner Yashdeep Chahal said disclosing names, addresses, pictures, work details of the victim and the accused violated laws set by the Supreme Court in the Nipun Saxena case as well as certain sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code says rape victims or survivors of other sexual offences prescribed by law cannot be identified without explicit permission. A violation could carry a fine and imprisonment of upto two years. Not only must the name of the victim be concealed, any detail that could make the identity of the rape victim public is illegal.
The fact that the victim is dead is immaterial. “Even the dead have their own dignity,” Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta of the Supreme Court had said in the case of Nipun Saxena vs the Home Ministry in December 2018. “They cannot be denied dignity only because they are dead.”
The court will hear the matter next on December 16.
The 27-year-old veterinarian was killed on the night of November 27. She left home in Shamshabad earlier that evening to visit a dermatologist in Gachibowli. She parked her two-wheeler near Shamshabad toll plaza, and took a shared cab from there around 6.15 pm.
On her way home, the woman realised that the rear tyre of her vehicle was punctured. Around 9.15 pm, the four accused approached her with offers to help. They had allegedly deflated the tyre. The accused switched off the woman’s phone and raped her near the toll gate. After killing her, the four men reportedly placed her body under a bridge and set it on fire around 2.30 am.
The woman’s family has alleged that the police delayed filing a first information report. Three officials were suspended on Saturday for dereliction of duty.
The incident has triggered widespread criticism of the law-and-order situation in the state. As public figures arrived at the colony where the woman lived in Shamshabad on Sunday, angry residents locked its gates and held up placards that read: “No media, no police, no outsiders”, and “no sympathy, only action, justice”.