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One stop centre to be established in every district for integrated assistance of rape survivors: Supreme Court

One stop centre to be established in every district for integrated assistance of rape survivors: Supreme Court

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of Indian has asked the States and the Union territories of India to establish a one-stop centre in every district. The Court asked the States and the Union territories to establish a minimum of one ‘one stop centre’ in every district for the assistance of rape survivors within a time span of one year.

This one-stop centre will have to provide integrated assistance to rape survivors including the police, medical, legal and prosecution services. Also, the one-stop centre would provide counselling, relief and rehabilitation services to the victims to prevent the re-victimization of the victim.

The Hon’ble Court held that the victims of a sexual offence are treated worse than the perpetrators of the offence and it is the need of the hour to treat the victims with sympathy and to ensure that a victim is not tortured or harassed while seeking justice.

Further, it was ruled by the court that the identity of a rape victim must not be disclosed by media and the prosecution. The name of a victim can be made public only when the permission has been granted by the Court. The permission would be granted by the Court when the name of the victim should be made public in the interest of the public.

The bench further said that the police officers investigating such cases should ensure that the identity of the victim is not disclosed and wherever possible use pseudo names to describe the victim and the real name be stated only when it is absolutely necessary. FIR copies of a sexual offence against women or offence committed under the POCSO should not be made public in order to prevent the identity of the victim from being disclosed.

However, the Hon’ble Court also said that where a rape victim is an adult and has no objection to her name or identity being disclosed. Then such a victim can authorise any person in writing to disclose her name or identity.

A plea was raised up before the Court that the name of a deceased victim should be permitted to be disclosed because it can help in becoming a rallying point for prevention of sexual offences. The Hon’ble Court rejected the plea and stressed on the protection of the identity and name of the rape victim and said that it is not necessary to disclose the identity of a victim to arouse public opinion as it is known to all that Nirbaya became the effective symbol of protest ever known. The campaign started to protect the rights of the victim and to mobilise public opinion can be done even without disclosing the identity of the victim.