SC Hears Plea To Protect Identity Of Men Accused Of Rape; Sends Notice To Centre
The Supreme Court on July 29 issued a notice to the Centre on a petition seeking to frame guidelines to protect the identity of undertrials accused in rape cases until proven guilty or till the completion of trial.
A bench of Justices SA Bobde and BR Gavai was hearing a public suit filed by advocate Reepak Kansal.
“It is a respectful submission that the cardinal principle of criminal law i.e. presumption of innocence until proven guilty contemplates that a person who is accused in a trial is innocent till the completion of trial until otherwise proven guilty which itself shows that the identity of the accused should not get tarnished as if it is revealed then the purpose of aforesaid principle will get defeated,” the plea read.
Kansal said that word “accused” is a derogatory nomenclature, and sought that men facing trial in such cases be referred to as ‘alleged accused’. He said that to save innocent men from false allegations, the criminal law regarding sexual accusations needs preventive measures.
He added that if the position and name of the accused is published, the identity of the victim will be easily leaked. Therefore, the victim’s confidentiality will also be protected more.
He also sought punishment for complainants who make false allegations. According to him, “the purpose of the law is to give lawful justice and compensation for the real victims and not for the people who want to ride the law for their personal revenge and benefits.”
Mentioning that since there is no law to protect men from becoming victims of false allegations, the top court must restrict the discussion, debate and observations made by print media, electronic media and social websites till the completion of trial of the accused. He further demanded the government to give compensation to undertrials acquitted in false cases.
“This is quite a major development,” Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, an independent journalist who has been voicing her opinions on men’s rights, tells The Logical Indian.
“This is going towards the right direction. The moment a man is charged with rape or sexual assault, his face and name are flashed across media. Even if he is acquitted after months or years, his life does not get back to normal. If anonymity is provided to survivors, it should be provided to the accused as long, until they are proven guilty,” she adds.