Even The Dead Have Dignity, Cannot Be Named Or Shamed: SC On Disclosing Rape Victims' Identity

| April 25 , 2018 , 09:47 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rapped the media and emphasised that the names of rape victims cannot be disclosed, regardless of whether the rape victim is alive or deceased, as even the dead have the right to dignity and privacy.

In general, rape survivors are not known by name, even the famous 'Nirbhaya' was a name given by media to the victim, since it is considered that revealing the name publically would affect the survivor in the future.

However, after the death of the 8-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua who was brutally raped and murdered, some media outlets, and later the public, used the minor's real name, before the Delhi High Court took action and sent notices to the respective media outlets.

ALSO READ: Chargesheet Of 8-Year-Old's Gangrape in Kathua Reveals Shocking Planning And Police Cover-Up

The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta specified that the identity of minor rape victims should not be disclosed even if parents give consent.

"Why should this happen, that the identity of a minor victim be disclosed just because her parents have given consent," the bench asked.

"Think of the dignity of dead also. It (media reporting) can be done without naming or shaming them. The dead also have dignity," the bench said.

The Supreme Court had been hearing had been examining the aspect of disclosure of the identity of victims of sexual offences under section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which had been raised by senior lawyer Indira Jaising. Violation of the Section 228-A of the IPC can result in jail term of up to 2 years and a fine.

Apart from the IPC, Section 23 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act gives guidelines for the media on reporting cases of sexual offences against child victims. While it is necessary for media to report on such incidences under freedom of press and to generate awareness amongst the public, the privacy rights of the concerned family also need to be balanced.