Friday, 24 May 2019

Whether victim of sexual offences can file appeal in pseudonymous name or coded identity?



 Before parting with this aspect, we would like to deal with a situation not envisaged by the law makers. As we have held above, Section 228A Indian Penal Code imposes a clear cut bar on the name or identity of the victim being disclosed. What happens if the Accused is acquitted and the victim of the offence wants to file an appeal Under Section 372 Code of Criminal Procedure? Is she bound to disclose her name in the memo of appeal? We are clearly of the view that such a victim can move an application to the Court praying that she may be permitted to file a petition under a pseudonymous name e.g. 'X' or 'Y' or any other such coded identity that she may choose. However, she may not be permitted to give some other name which may indirectly harm another person. There may be certain documents in which her name will have to be disclosed; e.g., the power of attorney and affidavit(s) which may have to be filed as per the Rules of the Court. The Court should normally allow such applicant to file the petition/appeal in a pseudonymous name. Where a victim files an appeal we direct that such victim can file such an appeal by showing her name as 'X' or 'Y' along with an application for non-disclosure of the name of the victim. In a sealed envelope to be filed with the appeal she can enclose the document(s), in which she can reveal her identity as required by the Rules of the appellate court. The Court can verify the details but in the material which is placed in the public domain the name of the victim shall not be disclosed. Such an application should be heard by the Court in Chambers and the name should not be reflected even in the cause-list till such matter is decided. Any documents disclosing the name and identity of the victim should not be in the public domain.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Writ Petition (Civil) No. 565 of 2012, W.P. (Crl.) Nos. 1, 22, 148 of 2013, 

Decided On: 11.12.2018

Nipun Saxena   Vs.  Union of India (UOI) and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta, JJ.

Citation: (2019) 2 SCC 703.
Read full judgment here: Click here
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