Supreme Court: The 3-Judge Bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah, JJ., issued directions in a case wherein a woman for the reason of being a ‘rape victim’ has been unable to secure accommodation.
The instant petition was filed by a rape victim invoking the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.
Petitioner claimed to be a Scheduled Tribe in the State of Jharkhand. She was taken away by one Basant Yadav and later on being found, the police and the father of the petitioner got the petitioner married to Basant Yadav.
After a year of the marriage, petitioner gave birth to a son and later filed a complaint as well as a maintenance case against Basant Yadav.
Later in the sequence of facts, it was noted that after the divorce, the custody of the son was given to Basant Yadav and once petitioner while going to meet her son was raped by one Mohd. Ali and three other accused.
In light of the above incident, a case under Section 376/34 read with Section 3(xi) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989was registered in which accused, Mohd. Ali was apprehended and put on trial.
Petitioner had also lodged FIR against the Dy. Inspector-General of Police under Sections 376,376(2)(a) IPC and Section 3(1)(xii) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,1989. Though,
Sessions Judge acquitted the Inspector General of Police by judgment and order dated 23-12-2017.
The concern placed by the petitioner is that she being a rape victim, whose identity was disclosed by the media, no one is ready to give her a rented accommodation. She has sought direction for the protection of her children.
Analysis and Decision
“The petitioner being a rape victim deserves treatment as rape victim by all the authorities.”
While stating that a rape victim suffers not only a mental trauma but also discrimination from the society, bench referred to the decision of Supreme Court in Nipun Saxena v. Union of India, (2019) 2 SCC 703, wherein it was held that:
“12. A victim of rape will face hostile discrimination and social ostracisation in
society. Such victim will find it difficult to get a job, will find it difficult to get married and will also find it difficult to get integrated in society like a normal human being. ………”
Petitioner has two sons and one daughter, out of which one son is major and the other two are minor.
Bench on noting after an inquiry stated that Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi shall take appropriate steps to ensure that minor children are provided with free education in any Government Institution at Ranchi.
With regard to the grievance of revelation of rape victim’s identity, Court referred to the Section 228-A of the Penal Code, 1860 which makes disclosure of the identity of the victim an offence.
In Nipun Saxena v. Union of India, (2019) 2 SCC 703, following directions were issued:
“50.1. No person can print or publish in print, electronic, social media, etc. the name of the victim or even in a remote manner disclose any facts which can lead to the victim being identified and which should make her identity known to the public at large.”
Further, the grievance in regard to the petitioner’s inability to get any rented accommodation due to her being a rape victim, Court stated that there several Central as well as State Schemes for providing residential accommodation to persons living living below poverty line and other deserving cases, hence the Bench asked the Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi to consider the case of the petitioner for allotment of any housing accommodation under Prime Minister Awas Yojna or any other Scheme of the Centre or the State.
Directions issued by the Court:
- The Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi is directed to take measure to ensure that minor children of the petitioner are provided free education in any of the Government Institutions in District Ranchi where the petitioner is residing till they attain the age of 14 years.
- The Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi may also consider the case of the petitioner for providing house under Prime Minister Awas Yojna or any other Central or State Scheme in which petitioner could be provided accommodation.
- The Senior Superintendent of Police, Ranchi and other competent authority shall review the Police security provided to the petitioner from time to time and take such measures as deem fit and proper.
- The District Legal Services Authority, Ranchi on representation made by the petitioner shall render legal services to the petitioner as may be deemed fit to safeguard the interest of the petitioner.
[X v. State of Jharkhand, WP (Civil) No. 1352 of 2019, decided on 20-01-2021]