NEW DELHI: The government has clarified that identities of children who are victims of sexual offences or are accused/ convicted in criminal cases cannot be revealed even after they are dead.
The development comes after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had written to the Women and Child Development ministry after complaints that police and media do not protect the identity of minors in many cases after which the views of the law ministry was sought.
The government has now made it clear that the provision of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which prohibits disclosure of identify of children, is also applicable in case of disclosure of identify of a deceased minor.
Section 74 of the JJ act says that “no report in any newspaper, magazine, news-sheet or audio-visual media or other forms of communication regarding any inquiry or investigation or judicial procedure, shall disclose the name, address or school or any other particular, which may lead to the identification of a child in conflict with law or a child in need of care and protection or a child victim or witness of a crime.”
There can, however, be an exception if a Board or a Committee, specially constituted for the purpose allows that such a disclosure can be made.
“This is a important clarification made by the government as we have seen in many cases that glaring mistakes are made by police and media houses in many cases when it comes to children involved in sensitive cases,” said G Mohanty, media advisor to the NCPCR. “It is now clear that their reputation is to be protected even if they are dead.”
The act also says that the violation of the provision can lead to imprisonment of up to six months or fine which may of up to Rs 2 lakh or both.