The Juvenile Justice Board has issued a notice to website rediff.com for allegedly carrying a story disclosing names of the juvenile accused in the December 16 gang rape and his mother.
The report had also allegedly disclosed other details like his family background and the name of his village.
Noting that the website had prima-facie violated section 21 of the Juvenile Justice Act, which prohibits media from disclosing details that can lead to the identification of a juvenile, the board’s principal magistrate sought a response from the website by March 14.
The board was acting on a petition filed by Imran Ali, the lawyer representing the juvenile, seeking action against the website and the police.
Seeking action against the police, Ali argued that “selective leakage of information regarding the juvenile has resulted in a perception that he was the most violent of the accused”.
Ali said media was freely using words like “savage”, “beast” and “most brutal” of the accused “when the chargesheet filed by the police does not mention anything of this sort”.
“Information being supplied by the police allows sensational media coverage which hinders the rehabilitation process of juvenile offenders and results in negative perception about the JJ Act,” the petition said.
Meanwhile, a complaint has been filed before the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights seeking a review of the provision of the JJ Act which governs media coverage of juveniles.
Anant Asthana, the lawyer who filed the complaint, said: “The penalty clause in Section 21 does not act as a deterrent. A media organisation can violate the provision and get away.”