Sunday, 6 January 2013

Case Filed Against Zee News Under IPC Act | For Revealing Victim’s Identity | Interviewing The Victim’s Friend


The Delhi police have decided to file a case against Zee News for venting an interview with the Delhi gangrape victim’s friend, himself a victim in the homicidal assault. As it is illegal to reveal the identity of a rape victim under section 228A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The statements vented by the rape victim’s friend – on TV, but we do not know yet.
After cast out of the moving bus with off clothes, no one came to their aid for nearly half an hour. Some who passed by failed to stop and enquire, others stopped to wonder what could have happened. None helped us, said the victim’s friend through Zee News.
Several PCRs (mobile Police Control Rooms) arrived and they spent over half an hour arguing about jurisdiction when some called Police. No one helped the naked victims, neither the girl nor her friend. When they reached Safdarjung Hospital, while the girl was sent for treatment, for she was in worse shape, he was left unclothed for quite a while.
The point in story is not just the horrific rape that claimed the 23-year-old girl’s life, but the point is about story what happened – or did not happen later the brutal incident.
The police not played the its part to handle a simple case of affording help to injured citizens, leave alone protecting them proactively. Society is clearly indurate. It is appalling that no one really came to help for a long time, despite passing by. Fear and numbness, or both, rule their lives.
Today no one wants to take the trouble to help the police or victim because of fear factor. Fear that they will be repeatedly asked to come to court, wait at police stations as though the culprits or harassed in other ways. Who knows whether giving evidence is a good or bad citizen – but the thing is if you are giving evidence against the rich and powerful, and if you came forward to give evidence, it is more than likely you will either be bought off or harassed by the police and toughs ones. So citizens don’t take chances, and avoid helping.
It is for all these reasons that I think Zee News did us all a service by holding the mirror up to society and to the police. They may have broken the law by revealing the witness’ identity, but they have done their duty as citizens.
Note: they did not name the witness or the victim. They only interviewed the witness.
Under the Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under which Zee is being targeted.
The IPC  section says “whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may make known the identity of any persons against whom an offence under section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C or section 376D (all refer to rape) is alleged or found to have been committed (hereafter in this section referred to as the victim) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.”
Section 228A also says that the section shall not apply if the victim is dead, or where the victim authorises such disclosure in writing, or if this is done with the order of the court that is hearing these proceedings.
The Zee decision to interview the victim’s friend would seem to violate only the third condition. As the rape victim is dead, there is no other reason to keep her identity secret, barring reasons of privacy.
In my terms Zee has done its moral duty to expose what really happened during and after the rape by talking to the victim’s friend, and this knowledge is vital for the making of public policy involving future crimes not only against women, but anyone.

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