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No action against Magistrate who inadvertently revealed rape survivor’s name in order: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

By Rintu Mariam Biju      11 January, 2024 05:13 PM      0 Comments
No action against Magistrate who inadvertently revealed rape survivor’s name in order: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

 Kerala: The Kerala High Court has clarified that Magistrates cannot be prosecuted under Section 228A (Disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offences etc) of the Indian Penal Code for inadvertently revealing the name of a rape victim in the order. 

“As found by the learned Single Judge, the inadvertent mistakes on the part of the Magistrate cannot lead to action under Section 228 of IPC” Chief Justice AJ Desai and Justice VG Arun of the High Court reiterated. 

The whole crux of the matter was when a Magistrate mentioned the name of the rape victim in a detailed judgement. The complainant/survivor took exception to this and moved the High Court. When the matter came up for hearing, a single judge of the High Court refused to take action against the Magistrate for the error. 

“However, before I conclude, it obligates this Court to declare without any ambiguity, that every Judge is to act fully conscious of the imperative requirement of maintaining anonymity of victims of sexual offences, particularly in relation to those enumerated in Section 228 A of the IPC”, the single judge categorically added. 

With this, the Judge added that many times, cause title of judgments are prepared by the offices of Courts concerned; while, only the judgments per se are corrected and verified by the Judicial Officers. The mounting number of cases added to the problem. 

And so, a suggestion was made—wherever petitions are filed by or against victims of sexual offences – as specified under Section 228 A of the IPC, Judges and Judicial Officers must initiate immediate action to anonymise the details, particularly their names and addresses, before continuing with consideration of the applications/cases. 

Aggrieved, the complainant appealed before a Division Bench since no action was taken against the Magistrate. 

The counsel appearing for the appellant submitted the Magistrate was bound to mask the name and address of the prosecutrix. However, in this case Magistrate mentioned the name and details of the appellant in the order and therefore, action was required to be taken against the Magistrate.

The Division Bench, while agreeing with the detailed observations and specific directions of the Single Judge for future guidance, dismissed the appeal.

 

[Read Judgment]



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