NEW DELHI: With a view to prevent victims of sexual offences from getting socially ostracised, the Supreme Court has asked High Courts and lower courts not to mention the victims’ names in their judgments.
“It would be appropriate that in the judgments, be it of this court, high courts or lower courts, the names of the victim should not be indicated,” a bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S H Kapadia said.
Section 228-A of Indian penal code makes disclosure of identity of victims of certain offences punishable. Printing and publishing names of rape victims in any manner, which may make known their identity can invite punishment.
The bench asked the courts not to mention the names of rape victims in judgments as section 228-A of IPC did not apply to printing an publication of judgments of the Supreme Court and High Court.
“A socially sensitised judge, in our opinion, is a better statutory armour in cases of crime against women than long clauses of penal provisions, containing complex exceptions and provisos,” the bench observed.
Advising the courts below to deal with cases of sexual crime against women with utmost sensitivity, the apex court said such cases needed to be dealt with sternly and severely.
The court was deciding an appeal filed by a rape accused from Rajasthan who was sentenced to life and slapped a fine of Rs 1,000 for sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl in 1998.
However, the bench reduced the sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment as neither the High Court nor the trial court had indicated any factors warranting life imprisonment but increased the fine to Rs 2,000.