Delhi HC imposes fine of Rs.10Lakh each to Media houses revealing identity of Kathua Case Victim, Amount to be transferred in victim compensation fund

Delhi High Court orders all News Media houses who had revealed the identity of Kathua Case victim and to whom notices were issued to pay Rs 10 lakh each to the court. The Court will transfer the amount to J&K victims compensation fund.

The Delhi High Court earlier took suo motu cognisance of the publication of photographs and the name of the eight-year-old child who was allegedly gang-raped and murdered in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar, in a nine-page order, said the “nature and manner” of the reportage was in “absolute violation of the specific provision of law disrespecting the privacy of the victim, which is required to be maintained in respect of the identity of a victim”.

The High Court order lists reports in The Times of India, The Hindu, The Statesman, The Pioneer, The Navbharat Times, The NDTV News Channel, First Post, The Week, The Republic TV, The Deccan Chronicle, The India TV and The Indian Express, which was brought to its attention.

The Bench said the media, when reporting cases involving crimes committed against children, was “expected to not only know but follow the strict stipulation of law.”

The Bench referred to provisions in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012 and the Indian Penal Code which specifically bars the media from revealing the identity of a victims of sexual offence.

The court said it was “pained” that none of the authorities, including the NCPCR, the NCW or the DCW, “reacted to this terrible development.”

The Hindu has already regretted the act and made necessary changes to remove victim name from past articles.