Details of minors too find mention
In violation of norms to be followed while handling sexual offences, the Karnataka State Police have been “publishing” names of the victims of rape and molestation on their official blogs. The necessity to hide the identity of victims has raised a debate in the wake of the recent Delhi gang-rape.
The police in every district have launched a blog to post information on cases registered in their jurisdiction on a day-to-day basis. Respective Superintendents of Police are the bloggers.
The Hindu conducted a random check of blogs of a few districts and found that many posts related to rape and molestation carry the name of the victims, their parents, details of locality, besides a brief note on the crime allegedly committed. In many of these cases victims are minor girls.
What the law says
The Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act 2012 strictly prohibit publishing of the names of the victims in sexual offences considering that such disclosure may affect her reputation and also infringe upon her privacy.
A 12-year-old girl was allegedly molested by her school headmaster recently in Chikmagalur town. An FIR was registered following a complaint by the mother of the victim. Surprisingly, Chikmagalur district police have published the name of the victim and her mother on their post.
In another case, a 14-year-old girl in Chikmagalur Rural police station limits was allegedly raped on January 1, this year. The name of the victim has been posted on the website.
A rape of woman was reported in Basavana Bagewadi police station limits in Bijapur district on January 2. The Bijapur district police had no hesitation in publishing the name of the victim.
Similarly, the Tumkur police have published the name of the victim in a molestation case reported in Turuvekere police station limits on December 12, 2012.
Udupi district police have posted another victim’s name in a molestation case reported on December 28, 2012, in Gangolli police station limits.
The laws bar disclosure of the victims of sexual offences. Clause 23 (2) of the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act 2012 clearly states: “No reports in any media shall disclose the identity of a child, including name, address, photograph, family details, school, neighbourhood or any other particulars which may lead to disclosure of identity of the child.”
Going by this clause, the police have violated the norm. Further, the Act states, any person who contravenes the provision shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a period which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.
Similarly Section 228A of Indian Penal Code states that whoever prints or publishes the name of the victim of sexual offences, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.