India

Identity of sexual assault victims has to be protected: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed that names and identities of victims of rape and sexual assault should not be disclosed or revealed.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur directed the print and electronic media not to reveal identity of victims of rape and sexual assault “even in a remote manner”.

The apex court said FIRs in cases of rape and sexual assault, including those against minors, should not be put in public domain by police.

The top court said it is “unfortunate” that rape victims are treated as “untouchables” in society.

The bench said that the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) reports and other documents related to such cases would be handed over to the trial court in a sealed cover without disclosing the identity of the victims.

The court advised the media to avoid sensationalising rape cases for the purpose of increasing the TRP and ordered that identity of minor rape victims cannot be disclosed even by their families. The court verdict came on a PIL by advocate Nipun Saxena who had moved the court seeking steps for the safety of women in public places.

The petition was filed in the aftermath of the December 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape case. “The media has not only the right but also duty to report” the cases of sexual assault but “should refrain from interviewing the victim”, it said.

PTI

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