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HC asks media house to tender apology for revealing identity of Hyderabad rape victim

The Delhi High Court on Monday asked a media house to tender "a nicely worded apology" along with an affidavit for revealing the identity of the Hyderabad rape victim.

HC asks media house to tender apology for revealing identity of Hyderabad rape victim
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New Delhi

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the media house whether it revealed the identity of the victim in ignorance or "deliberately" and directed it to put its house in order.

The court also observed that costs ought to have been imposed on media house for not filing an affidavit till date.

"Are you ignorant or did you do it deliberately? You have not even filed an affidavit. You should have filed today at least. Why no cost be imposed on you," the bench said, adding "put your house in order".

"Tender a nicely worded apology and file an affidavit," it stated orally.

The remarks by the bench came after the counsel for the media house told the court it has taken down the news reports which had revealed the victim's identity.

It also told the court that such an incident will not happen in future.

Similar directions were issued by the court to another media house which had also revealed the victim's identity.

The directions by the bench came while hearing a PIL seeking action against certain media houses that revealed the identity of the Hyderabad rape victim. The court listed the matter for further hearing on December 20.

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation, during the brief proceedings, urged the court to remove it from the array of parties saying it represents TV news channels against whom no allegations have been made in the petition.

It said the allegations in the petition were against print media and online news portals which had revealed the victim's identity, which is an offence under the law.

Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code makes disclosure of identity of victim of certain offences, including rape, punishable with imprisonment of a term that may extend to two years and a fine.

The central government, meanwhile, said it has no role in the instant matter as the incident occurred in a particular state.

The petition by a lawyer has said the plea was aimed to curb the practice of exposure of identity of the rape victims in violation of the IPC sections and various Supreme Court precedents.

He has said there was blatant violation of Section 228A by individuals and media houses by publishing elaborate reports revealing the identity of the victim and the four accused in Hyderabad rape case on various online and offline portals.

A 26-year-old doctor was allegedly raped and killed in Shamshabad, Telangana, by four men on the night of November 27.

According to the Cyberabad Police, the four accused punctured the rear wheel of her scooter, offered to help her, dragged her to a secluded spot close to a toll plaza and raped her.

It said the victim died due to suffocation and the accused later burnt her body. The four accused were arrested and sent to judicial custody.

They were later killed in an encounter with the police a few days after their arrest.

The petition has said the news reports elaborately disclosed the identity of the victim, including her name, picture, occupation, residence and call details.

The plea also sought direction to the authorities to prevent exposure of identity on online platforms, either directly or indirectly and blur the pictures which are being published.

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