In a major goof-up, the Gujarat information department released photographs identifying a minor rape victim from Junagarh, a town in Kalahandi district, on Sunday.
Vasuben Trivedi, minister of state for women and child development, visited the seven-year-old girl who was allegedly raped last week on Sunday afternoon. During his meeting with the victim's family, deputy director Giridhar Pandya took a photographer along.
According to reports, the information department released a press release with photographs of the victim lying on a hospital bed. Out of the five photos taken, four of them clearly show the seven-year-old girl, reported The Times of India.
According to Section 228 A of Indian Penal Code (IPC), revealing the name of a victim is punishable by imprisonment or liable to a fine.
The information department upon realising the goof-up, called all media houses which received the press release and asked them not to publish the photos.
Admitted his mistake, Pandya told the Indian Express said, "In haste, I could not notice the picture. It was a mistake on our part and we apologise for that sincerely."
Trivedi, a three-time BJP MLA from Junagarh constituency, said that it was unintentional on his part to allow photos to be taken. "If there are any legal implications, I will have them withdrawn," he said.
The offence of revealing a rape victim's identity became the focus of attention during the 2012 Delhi gang-rape incident, when Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav revealed the name of the victim. The victim's father himself revealed the full name later and even said that it would be a proud moment if the anti-rape law is named after his daughter.