Don’t reveal identity of victims in sexual offence case: Supreme Court

Takes exception to a Sessions Judge in Chhattisgarh mentioning name of a victim

The Supreme Court has asked trial judges to take care to not reveal the identity of victims in sexual offence cases.

The court said their privacy should be respected.

The observation came in an order dismissing an appeal made against a Chhattisgarh High Court judgment in a case. The apex court noted that the Sessions Judge had mentioned the name of the victim.

“We take exception to the judgment of the Sessions Judge where the name of victim is mentioned. It is well-established that in cases like the present one, the name of the victim is not to be mentioned in any proceeding. We are of the view that all subordinate courts should be careful in future while dealing with such cases,” a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan said in the recent order.

Section 228A of the IPC prohibits the publication of the identity of rape victims or any other details which may reveal the identity.

The bar however does not ostensibly extend to court judgments.

However, the apex court, in the State of Karnataka versus Puttaraja case, had said it would be ‘appropriate’ if courts do not name the victim in its records.

“True it is, the restriction does not relate to printing or publication of judgment by High Court or Supreme Court. But keeping in view the social object of preventing social victimisation or ostracism of the victim of a sexual offence for which Section 228-A has been enacted, it would be appropriate that in the judgments, be it of this court, High Court or lower court, the name of the victim should not be indicated. We have chosen to describe her as ‘victim’ in the judgment,” the apex court said in Puttaraja.

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