Yesterday, I woke up to the news of the brutal gang-rape and murder of a young veterinary doctor in Hyderabad. Allegedly, her scooty broke down at night and she called her sister for help. Later, her burned dead body was found nearby.
It is indeed an incident which pricks the conscience of the entire nation and urges them to stand up and work for the safety of women.
While surfing through the internet, social media platforms and after watching the news, I found a very disturbing thing.
What Is Wrong With The News?
Most media houses and many social media influences, actors and politicians have come forward to talk about this heinous crime however some of them are calling out the culprits irresponsibly.
While going through various tweets and news reports, I found a very shocking and disturbing fact. Despite the law barring it and the explicit guidelines of the Supreme Court, media channels, publishing houses and people on social media are not only disclosing the name of the rape victim but her pictures and the photographs of her family are being widely circulated.
While the same is against the law, even educated and well-read people don’t understand the gravity of the offence. There is sound logic behind these guidelines and legislations. Knowing the fact that she has a sister as well, the disclosure of the identity of the rape victim can cause great discomfort and a sense of insecurity for her grieving family.
What Does The Law Say?
Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code expressly bars the disclosure of the identity of the rape victim. Disclosure can happen only by the order of officer-in-charge or by written consent of the next-of-kin in the case when the victim is dead or of unsound mind. This consent, however, can be given to nobody other than chairman or secretary of any recognized welfare institution or organization.
In the leading case of Nipun Saxena v Union of India, Hon’ble Supreme Court explained the importance of this provision in detail.
The Supreme Court while hearing the Kathua Rape case reiterated its view on disclosure of identity of deceased rape victim and stated, “In cases where the victim is dead or of unsound mind, the name of the victim or her identity should not be disclosed even after authorization of next-of-kin unless circumstances justifying the disclosure of her identity exist, which shall be decided by the competent authority, which at present is the Sessions Judge.”
Here it is clear that no adequate authorization has been taken since her name was trending on various social media platforms shortly after the information regarding the incident was received.
It may seem to some people that since the hashtag is already in public domain and everyone knows about it, there is no need to follow the above provision, but being a law student I would say that if everyone is committing an offence doesn’t mean even I have to and as far as hashtag is concerned, the multitude of Tweets with that hashtag affects its capacity to trend. If we don’t use it, it may help curb the offence.
Various influential people like Kusha Kapila and Anand Mahendra used their brains and didn’t mention the name of the victim.
As a part of society, it is our responsibility to be law-abiding citizens. Irresponsible attitude of educated people isn’t going to help us fight for the cause, rather diligence would.
Image Sources: Twitter, Google Images
Find The Blogger At: @innocentlysane
You Would Also Like To Read…