The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed a section of the media, especially news channels, for revealing the identity of the Rewari gang-rape victim and asked how such disclosures could be stopped.
“Where is the anonymity of victim?” a bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta asked as it questioned an interview of the woman’s father by news channels in the presence of co-villagers.
Hearing a plea against media gag on reporting on the probe into Muzaffarpur shelter home case, the bench expressed concern over the revealation of Rewari victim’s identity: “There is something wrong… saw on news channel that a girl was raped in Rewari. They say she was a board exam topper. There is only one topper. Identifying her is not a problem at all. Probably, if you google, you will find out. Rewari is not a big city like Delhi, Kolkata… happened to see that by chance on a TV channel.
“They interviewed the victim’s father with his back to the camera, but there are 50 people from the village also in front of him. They know him. They will tell 50 more and everybody would know. Now, what’s to be done,” the bench asked.
The bench expressed concern and asked who should be held responsible for revealing her identity. “Tell us what can be done? What should be done to prevent it? Who is responsible?”
“Where is the question of anonymity. We are concerned about her. How to stop the disclosure of identity…”
Three co-villagers had gang-raped the 19-year-old woman on September 12 after kidnapping her from the Kanina bus stand while she was on her way for coaching classes.
She said that they gave her sedative-laced water to drink and gang-raped her in a room in agricultural fields till she fell unconscious. They later dumped her at a bus stop near her village.
An advocate, assisting the court as amicus curiae, told the bench that the media sensationalised the news and hence there should be its regulation.
The court was hearing a plea that challenged a Patna High Court order to restrain the media from reporting on the investigation into the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, wherein several women inmates were raped.
The bench said it would hear the plea on September 20.