SC suggests HC on plea for action against Bengal cops for naming rape complainant | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SC suggests HC on plea for action against Bengal cops for naming rape complainant

ByAbraham Thomas
Mar 15, 2024 05:08 PM IST

The petition said the West Bengal Police “overstepped” official duties and violated provisions of law by coercing the woman to give a statement

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sukanta Majumdar’s Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking registration of a criminal case against West Bengal Police for revealing the identity of one of the women, who have accused a ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) functionary of rape in Sandeshkhali. The identity was revealed in an interview uploaded on social media.

The Supreme Court. (ANI)
The Supreme Court. (ANI)

A bench of justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal asked how could there be a PIL on this issue. “Your limited grievance is that the victim’s name was disclosed on social media. The high court is a better forum for this kind of a matter.”

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Senior advocates Madhavi Divan and Archana Pathak Dave, appearing for Majumdar, cited a Supreme Court judgment in 2019 that prohibited disclosure of the names or any information that could reasonably lead to a victim’s identification by courts or investigating agencies in such cases.

Divan told the court that PIL was maintainable as the issue did not relate to just one incident but raised a larger issue. “This kind of an incident can happen anywhere. The court needs to lay down guidelines on what happens to a rape victim from the time she files a complaint and is taken to the courtroom.”

Also Read: Sandeshkhali case: Supreme Court refuses to interfere with CBI probe order

The petition said the West Bengal Police “overstepped” official duties and violated provisions of law by coercing the woman to give a statement that she was not abducted but was brought to the local magistrate’s office to give a statement.

In her complaint, the woman alleged she was called on the pretext of attending a meeting at the local party office in Sandeshkhali, where she was allegedly gang raped by the accused Shibu Hazra, and others in October last year.

Majumdar, in his plea, said the case demonstrates West Bengal Police officials’ deliberate actions in advancing a political agenda to the detriment of public welfare and security. “The incident represents a significant setback for the women of Sandeshkhali, impeding their ability to report the injustices inflicted upon them.”

The petition said women in the Sandeshkhali region revolting against the atrocities subjected to them are being attacked and silenced. “Shockingly, to respond to an allegation of a political opponent of the State government political party, WB police overstepped its official duties and violated several provisions of law by coercing the victim to give a statement that she was not abducted but instead brought to the local magistrate’s office...” Such a statement being recorded not as part of court proceedings was not permissible, it added.

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