Muzaffarpur shelter home horror: SC ends ban on media reporting
The Supreme Court on Thursday ended a ban on media reporting in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, but asked the media to not sensationalize sexual harassment cases. Earlier, the Patna High Court had put a blanket ban on reportage in the media, a verdict which was challenged in the apex court. Senior lawyer Shekhar Naphade appeared for the petitioner. Here are more details.
Bench reiterated victims' images can't be used in any form
The SC reiterated that media bodies can't publish images of victims of sexual abuse, even after morphing or blurring them. On Tuesday, the bench had said they were concerned about victim's identity and gave the example of Rewari gang-rape and media coverage. In another development, SC said it will monitor the CBI probe and asked it to file a status report in 4 weeks.
SC was unhappy with Rewari rape coverage
About the Rewari rape case, the bench noted identifying the victim wasn't difficult as the media mentioned she was a topper. "There's one topper, not twenty," the bench said. The bench said media channels interviewed the victim's father. "The camera was placed behind the father. But in front of him, there are 50 people standing who are from the village," it added.
Naphade calls for mechanism to check media-reporting in such cases
During the hearing, Naphade told court there has to be a mechanism for reportage in such cases. He called for laws to be formed, which if flouted, should be seen as contempt. He suggested I&B Ministry should be responsible for TV and told court magistrates should look into such cases. On this suggestion, the court said the magistrates are overloaded with work.
Backstory: The case which shook the nation
Earlier this year, the happenings inside the Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti of Muzaffarpur, Bihar, shocked the nation. A TISS report shed light on sexual abuse in the shelter home and further investigation revealed over 20 girls were raped in the shelter home. The CBI took over the case, the shelter home's owner Brajesh Thakur was arrested, and minister Manju Verma resigned after outrage.