NipunSaxena v/s Union Of IndiaFacts:
The term rape has been defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Court where
all the aspects of the rape have been explored. But, in laymen's terms, rape is
a forceful sexual offense done against women against their will. It is so
abominable that it shatters both: the physical as well as the mental
collaboration of women. The victims of rape are treated as the untouchables.
To maintain so-called social prestige, the near and dear ones of the rape
victims desert them. The victims are questioned many times more than the
accused, so it becomes a necessity to protect their identity to immune them from
social isolation. It is simply their willpower that they decide to fight against
all those odds and live a life that they used to earlier.
Because of all the barbaric scenes cooked by our society toward the rape
victims, the alarming crime is becoming under-reported. The feeling of social
repudiation forces them to hide this heinous crime. Even after recovering from
physical trauma, the victims have to face the mental trauma because of the
ill-conservative thinking of society.
The trauma given to them because of society haunts them more than anything else.
It is as if they are punished for a crime that they have not committed ever.
Also, during the investigation process asking them various questions compromises
All those questions trouble them beyond our imagination, which makes her feel
uncomfortable. As per Section 288A of the Indian Penal Code, the identity of
rape victims should not be vouchsafed to the public, but it is barely followed.
So, in the landmark case of Nipun Saxena v/s Union of India
, a question
regarding the identity of the rape victims was raised.
- What are the various reasons for hiding the identity of rape victims
- What are the various injunctions on which the identity of rape victims
can be disclosed?
- Whether the identity of the child should be preserved from being
disclosed to society in the very way as that of adult females who are
victims of rape?
- Petitioner's Contention:
The Court alluded to Section 288A of IPC, Section 327of Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1973, expressed to consult The Amendment Act of 1983, instances
of rape, gang-rape, and many such things should not be discussed in open
court. Further, the focus was laid on sub-section (1) of Section 288A
expressing that those individuals who disclose the name and identity of
individuals who is a victim of offense fall under Section 376A, Section
376AB, Section 376B, Section376C, Section 376DA, Section DB, or Section 376
E have done a criminal offense.
- Respondent's Contention:
The representative said that they are also in favor of hiding the identity
of the rape victims yet this should ensure that such actions should not
diminish the quality of interrogation made to them by the police. Even many
times The Honorable Court has revealed the identity of the victims, for
instance in the case of State Of Punjab V. Gurmit Singh, 1996. Many times
there is an overlap between The Freedom of Speech and Expression and Section
288A of the Indian Penal Code.
The Bench of The Supreme Court comprising the Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice
Deepak Gupta emphasized that it is untoward for the female community that they
are out casted from the society, even by near and dear ones, when they become
rape victims. It is the reality in our society that in the name of so-called
social honor and prestige, the near and dear ones refuses to accept them back
into their family.
For this sole reason only, nowadays, many cases of rape have begun not to be
reported because of the trepidation of social rejection. This is an apparent
tyrannical truth of our society but at the very time, this fact is not bearable.
The Court also felt that the victims had to go through squabbling and undertone
made against them by the police authority.
Many rape victims have to face the unbearable cross-questions of the defense
lawyer, but the unfortunate fact is that the judge even does not interfere in
that. Many Aspects of her social and personal life are discussed publicly.
Derogatory statements against her character are passed. The Court observed that
the cross-examination is not curtailed but lawyers should pay respect to the
While passing the verdict the honorable court threw light on the neoteric case
of the rape victim where her name was kept in dark but the media broadcasted
that she is the topper of a particular state board with the name of the state.
In another case, the media blurred the face of the rape victim but disclosed the
identity of her relatives and the name of the village. The Court observed that
in such injunctions the identity can easily be scanned.
The honorable court finally after reviewing the facts passed the verdict not to
disclose the identity of rape victims. Those individuals who disclose the
identity of the rape victims commit a criminal offense under Section 288A of
IPC. This may attract a punishment of imprisonment which may extend to two years
and a fine also. In case any rape victim appeals before the court under Section
372 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, she may represent herself with an
anonymous name say "X" or "Y".
The Court decided that in case of revelation of the identity of the victim who
is of unsound mind or is dead, then the next kin of the victim have the legal
power to apply an application to the nearest court for divulging the identity of
the victim under Section 288A of IPC.
But, if the victim is minor then disclosing the identity is relying on the
permission from Special Court. Here, the interest of the minor child is of
paramount significance. Further, the court highlighted that the identity of
victims under Sections 376, 376A, etc. should not be disclosed by public
authority. Further, the court has to ensure that the identity of a rape victim
is kept in dark during court proceedings. All the information should be
restricted to the court.
Defects In Laws:
There was an overlap between Article 19A of the Indian Constitution and Section
288A of the IPC (Indian Penal Code). Article 19A says about freedom of speech
and expression while Section 288A of IPC says some restrictions on freedom of
speech and expression. Authorities usually forget that Article 19A has
reasonable restrictions and even after the judgment we find that the identity of
the victim is not kept secret.
The rape and murder of 6 years old girl in the Saidabad Area is a recent
instance where the identity of the rape victim was disclosed. This was a
violation of the directives of the Supreme Court Of India. The incident took
place somewhat near late 2021. Netizens in their anger revealed all the details
of the minor child to punish the accused, for failing to abide by the guidelines
of the Honorable Supreme Court. One should remember that Article 19 also carries
reasonable restrictions which we usually forget.
The Apex Court highlighted the fact that everyone has the right to live with
dignity; even the dead also have the right to maintain the dignity of their
name. The Court further heightened that to ensure quality justice it is
necessary to conceal the identity of the rape victims. Protection of identity is
the intrinsic part of delivering justice to the rape victims.
Even the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right of the citizens. In the Apex
Court in the landmark judgment of Thappalam Service Cooperative Banks Limited V.
State of Kerala, the court stated that the right to privacy is enshrined in the
citizens under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. So, it is the duty of the
State, its agencies, and courts to protect the right of its citizens.
In the recent judgment of Patna High Court, the honorable court directed its
sub-ordinate courts to make sure that the identity of the rape victim should not
be mentioned in the orders and judgments of the Court unless disclosure of the
identity is very imperative. The Bench of Chakradhari Sharan Singh passed this
directive. It is even better to call these rape victims the rape survivors since
they have bravely crossed the hell-like situations beyond the imagination of
Even in this 21st century, we proclaim that we are more learned people. All our
ideas are rational. They are based on facts and inference even though our
society looks at rape survivors as taboo. It is unfortunate to infer that the
purity of the woman is still judged by her sexuality.
The role of the fourth pillar of democracy, the media, is confused by various
learned people regarding this matter. They think that identity is disclosed only
for the money-making purpose. Even many times judiciary has warned the media
regarding its unfair media trial. But, at the eleventh hour, the thing that
matters is humanity. It is high time to pay respect to the women's community.
- Sec. 375, IPC
- Sec. 288A, IPC
- Sec.472, CrPC
- Preeti Biswas, Neitizens reveal six year-old Hyderabad rape victims
identity, The Times Of India (Hyderabad,14 September 2021)
- Sparsh Upadhyay, Rape Victim's Identity Shouldn't Be Indicated Unless
Such Disclosure Becomes Imperative For Which Reasons Are To Be Given: Patna
High Court ( Live Law, 1 March 2021),
- ( 11 December 2018)