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The Delhi High Court today issued notice in a petition seeking to initiate appropriate proceedings against media houses as well as individuals who exposed the identity of the victim of gang rape which took place in Telangana last month.
The petition also seeks issuance of fresh composite directions to prevent the exposure of identity on online platforms, either directly or indirectly; regarding the extent of blurring required in publishing pictures of the victim and to ensure awareness regarding their due compliance.
Notice was issued to the Central Government, the Delhi Government, the Press Council of India, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority of India, media houses including the New Indian Express, India Today, OpIndia, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter etc. in a public interest litigation by Advocate Yashdeep Chahal.
The petition is founded on Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which clearly prohibits the publication of the identity if the victim of sexual offences in any manner whatsoever without the consent of the victim.
In his petition, the petitioner has highlighted several news reports which have “elaborately disclosed” the identity of the deceased victim, including her name, her picture, her occupation, residence, call details etc.
It is the petitioner’s grievance that such violations were happening in every corner of every state of the country right under the nose of the police authorities and yet no action is being taken against any of these incidents.
The petitioner thus seeks directions to prohibit the publication of pictures of the accused before the trial has begun.
The petitioner also seeks direction to the investigating authorities to conduct themselves in a restricted manner so as to prevent the supply of information in the merits of the case to media and the common public.
The matter would be heard next on December 16.
The burnt remains of a 26-year-old woman, now dubbed Disha, were found in Telangana last month. Forensic examination determined that the woman had been subjected to gang rape. Recently the Hyderabad police is also reported to have issued an advisory to the media to refrain from publishing photos, videos etc. which disclose the personal identity of the rape victim, cautioning that the same may diminish the value of crucial evidence.