No More Trial By Media? Petition Wants SC To Protect Identity Of Those Accused In Sexual Assault Cases
No More Trial By Media? Petition Wants SC To Protect Identity Of Those Accused In Sexual Assault CasesThe Supreme Court. (File Photo)

A new petition has been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) asking the apex court to frame guidelines to safeguard the reputation of those accused in sexual assault cases, reports The Hindu.

The petition, filed by Youth Bar Association of India states that it is vital to protect the public integrity of an individual falsely accused in a sexual assault case since the law operates on the principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

The plea notes that false charges and accusations can do irreparable damage to a person’s social and economic life even if those charges are later proved wrong in a court of law.

“It does not only destroy an individual’s life but also creates a social stigma for the family members too… Some preventive measures must be taken to avoid and deal with such situations in the interest of justice,” it said.

Names Should Not Be Published

The petition has asked the court to issue a directive to prohibit disclosure of the identity of those accused in a sexual harassment case until a court upholds the charges. This restriction is necessary to prevent a trial by media.

"Besides, considering the wide reach of social media, the person’s name and even that of his family, which might include minors, would be exposed on the Internet. This would be a violation of their fundamental right to privacy," the petition said.

The petition added that it would be tragic that the person, even after being found innocent, would continue to be known as a suspected sex offender on social media because once his identity entered the public domain it would become searchable and permanent.

Also Read: A Season Of Shame: Long Way To Go Before Sexual Harassment Is Dealt A Blow

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