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Indian Case Summary

Nipun Saxena vs Union Of India on 11 December, 2018 – Case Summary

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In the case of Nipun Saxena vs Union of India on 11 December 2018, the Supreme Court of India deliberated on the issue of protecting the identity of adult victims of rape and children who are victims of sexual abuse. The court aimed to establish measures to prevent these victims from being subjected to unnecessary ridicule, social ostracisation, and harassment. The judgment was divided into two parts, with the first part dealing with victims of rape under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), and the second part dealing with victims subjected to offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).

Facts of the Case

The case was brought before the Supreme Court in the form of a writ petition. The petitioners, Nipun Saxena and another, filed the case against the Union of India and others. The case was heard by Justice Deepak Gupta. The main issue at hand was the manner in which the identity of adult victims of rape and children who are victims of sexual abuse should be protected.

Issues Raised

The court highlighted the unfortunate societal reality where victims of sexual offences, especially rape, are treated worse than the perpetrators. The victims, despite being innocent and subjected to forcible sexual abuse, are often treated as ‘untouchables’ and ostracised from society. The court also noted that many cases of rape do not get reported due to the societal pressure of upholding ‘honour’.

The court also addressed the issue of how victims are treated during the legal process. It was observed that victims are often subjected to harsh cross-examination, with questions raised about their morals and character. The court expressed its desire to ensure that such cross-examination should be conducted with a certain level of decency and respect for women.

Court’s Observations and Directions

The court referred to Section 228A of the IPC, which was introduced in 1983, that prohibits the disclosure of the identity of the victim of certain offences. The court interpreted that the phrase “matter which may make known the identity of the person” does not solely mean that only the name of the victim should not be disclosed, but it also means that the identity of the victim should not be discernible from any matter published in the media.

The court also addressed the issue of disclosing the identity of the victim with the victim’s consent or the consent of the next of kin in case the victim is a minor or of unsound mind. The court held that the identity of the victim should not be disclosed even under the authorization of the next of kin, without permission of the competent authority.

The court also made clear that the police officials should keep all the documents in which the name of the victim is disclosed in a sealed cover and are not disclosed to the public at large. They should not be disclosed to the media and they shall also not be furnished to any person under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

In conclusion, the court gave a series of directions to protect the identity of victims of rape and sexual abuse. The court emphasized the need for sensitivity in dealing with such cases and the importance of protecting the victims from further trauma and social ostracisation.