It is violation of Juvenile Justice Act, says Commission member

A video showing French Consulate official Pascal Mazurier playing with his daughter next to a swimming pool was released to the media by senior advocate Pramila Nesargi here on Wednesday. Ms. Nesargi is representing Mr. Mazurier’s wife, Suja Jones, who has accused her husband of raping their three-and-half-year-old daughter.

Ms. Nesargi presented the video as evidence of Mr. Mazurier’s “questionable conduct” before the Karnataka High Court when the case came up for hearing on Wednesday. When she emerged from the court, Ms. Nesargi gave a CD containing the video to a local television journalist, who copied it onto a laptop and distributed it to other journalists present there.

Hours after the video was released, Ms. Jones requested the media to “not publish, upload on the Internet, share, broadcast or use the footage.” In an emailed appeal to all media outlets in Bangalore, she said, “I have been informed that certain sections of the press are in possession of a CD that contains some video footage of my daughter with her father.”

She said, “I request you to kindly delete this video. As you are all aware, any footage, photograph, name of a child cannot be used by the press.” She pointed out that it was a “personal video” and publishing it “would be considered an infringement of the law.”

Nina Nayak, member, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, reacted sharply to the release of the video. “Sharing such a video with the public or the press compromises the interests of the child. She is entitled to anonymity as per law. It is a violation of Section 21 of the Juvenile Justice [Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000].”

This section stipulates, “No report in any newspaper, magazine, news-sheet or visual media of any enquiry regarding a juvenile in conflict with law under this Act shall disclose the name, address or school or any other particulars calculated to lead to the identification of the juvenile nor shall any picture of any such juvenile be published: Provided that for reasons to be recorded in writing the authority holding the enquiry may permit such disclosure, if in its opinion such disclosure is in the interest of the juvenile.”

However, Ms. Nesargi said, “What is wrong? It is something that happened. It was released in good faith and in an attempt to show the world his [Mr. Mazurier’s] questionable conduct.”

Asked about the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, she said: “That is not my problem. It is up to the media outlets to decide whether they want to show the child’s face or not. You people seem to know the law better. So, do what is right.’