The Delhi High Court has appointed senior advocate Rebecca John as amicus curiae to assist it in deciding a plea against revelation of identity of the Hyderabad rape victim by certain media houses.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said the matter has to be heard on merits and directed that its order be communicated to the senior lawyer along with the complete set of documents.
”The matter has to be heard on merits, and, therefore, to assist this court Ms. Rebecca M. John, sr. advocate is appointed as amicus curiae in the matter,” stated the bench also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad in its order dated September 14. Petitioner, Delhi-based lawyer Yashdeep Chahal, had approached the high court in 2019, alleging that there was blatant violation of Section 228A of Indian Penal Code by individuals and media houses who published elaborate reports revealing the identity of the victim and the four accused in Hyderabad rape case on various portals.
Section 228A makes disclosure of identity of victim of certain offences, including rape, punishable with imprisonment of a term that may extend to two years and a fine.
The high court had earlier issued notice and sought the stand of the Centre, the governments of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, as well as some media houses and social networking platforms on the petition.
The plea has sought initiation of appropriate proceedings against the media houses and individuals who have allegedly revealed the identity of the rape victim, which is an offence under the law. The plea, filed through advocates Chirag Madaan and Sai Krishna Kumar, also alleged that there was inaction of the state police authorities and their cyber cells to curb the constant revelation of identity of the victim and the accused persons.
A 26-year-old doctor was allegedly raped and killed in Shamshabad, Telangana, by four men on the night of November 27, 2019. According to the Cyberabad Police, the four accused had punctured the rear wheel of her scooter, offered to help her, dragged her to a secluded spot close to a toll plaza and raped her. It had said the victim died due to suffocation and the accused later burnt her body. The four accused were arrested and sent to judicial custody. The matter would be heard next on January 12.