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SC dismisses rape survivor's plea seeking action against Kerala judge

IANS | April 19, 2024 03:31 PM

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea filed by a rape survivor seeking legal action against a magistrate in Kerala who inadvertently revealed her name in his order.

Observing that the lapse may have been inadvertent, a bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra dismissed the special leave petition filed against the decision passed by the Kerala High Court in January this year.

The survivor had approached the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kattakkada seeking cancellation of the bail granted to the accused A.V. Saiju. However, in his order, while refusing the plea, the magistrate also revealed the identity of the victim.

The victim then approached the High Court demanding action against the magistrate. However the single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran, directing immediate anonymisation of records to protect the rape survivor's identity, dismissed the petition seeking action against the magistrate.

On appeal, a division bench of Chief Justice A.J. Desai and Justice V.G. Arun upheld the order of a single-judge bench and gave a clean chit to the magistrate.

The Kerala High Court ruled that Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises revealing the identity of victims of certain offences like rape, applies only to those who print or publish the identity of a victim and does not cover situations where a court, during the course of its proceedings, inadvertently reveals such information.

However, it urged judges and judicial officers to be conscious and wanted steps to anonymise details in cases involving such victims.

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