The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Government to set up one stop centres in every district for woman and children where crimes committed against them could be registered.

The High Court referred to the Supreme Court’s directions in the case Nivedita Jha v. State of Bihar, 2018, where the Apex Court had directed the States and Union Territories to set up one stop centres in every district for woman and children.

The High Court noted that the State Governments are in contempt in not adhering to the time limit fixed by the Apex Court in setting up such centres within one year from the date of the judgment passed by the Apex Court which was passed in 2018.

The bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was dealing with a Public Interest Ltigation that was filed highlighting the disclosure of the identity of a victim of gang-rape that took place in Hyderabad in November, 2019.

It was stated that while covering the incident, the media houses disclosed the name of the victim, her photographs along with other personal information.

Advocates Chirag Madan and G Sai Krishna Kumar appeared for the Petitioner whereas Chetan Sharma, ASG with CGSC Ajay Digpaul appeared for Respondents.

“The Courts have been concerned about the disclosure of the identity of a victim of rape and sexual harassment, and have been passing various orders to ensure the concealment of their identities so as to ensure they do not face any form of ostracisation.”, the High Court observed.

The Court noted that a Writ Petition was filed in the Apex Court seeking directions to ensure that victims of rape and children who are victims of sexual abuse should be protected so that they are not subjected to unfortunate ridicule, social ostracisation and harassment. While discussing Section 228- A(3) of the IPC, the Apex Court had held that IPC clearly lays down that nobody can print or publish any matter in relation to any proceedings falling within the purview of Section 228-A and in terms of Section 327(2) CrPC.

It held that these are in-camera proceedings and nobody except the presiding officer, the court staff, the accused, his counsel, the public prosecutor, the victim, if she wants to be present or the witness should be present and that there can be no reporting of such cases.

The High Court noted that the directions issued by the Supreme Court as regards setting up of the one stop centres have not been complied with. Thus the Court directed the Delhi Government to set-up one-stop centres in every District in compliance of the judgment of the Apex Court.

Senior Advocate Rebecca John who has been appointed as an Amicus Curiae in the instant case informed that a similar issue regarding compensation to the victims and criminal action under Section 228-A IPC is pending before the High Court of Telangana.

“Since a similar issue is pending before the Telangana High Court, this Court does not find it appropriate to initiate proceedings against media houses and reported individuals or to direct the investigating authorities to take cognizance of the offence.”, the Court held.

The Court appreciated Senior Advocate Rebecca John for giving valuable suggestions to the Court.

Cause Title- Yashdeep Chahal v. Union of India & Ors.

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