The Indian Capital -Delhi's Law Minister came under much criticism from all sides for releasing the name of the Danish rape victim, which as per the country's legal code is a punishable offence.
As per Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code that deals with disclosure of identity of the rape victim, it is a punishable offence either with imprisonment up to two years or fine.
On Wednesday night, the Delhi law Minister Somnath Bharti in a official press release identified the name of the victim. However, the gaffe was soon spotted by media. The mishap was quickly informed to the office of Law Minister. Following the event, the Law Minister Somnath Bharti on Thursday acknowledged that he had accidentally named the Danish woman.
On Tuesday night, the 51-year old Danish woman was allegedly gang-raped in Delhi, the latest of the incidents in the country that is taking a severe beating over the increasing rape incidents.
The victim was raped by a gang of eight men, after she lost her way and asked for direction in Paharganj, a popular backpacker tourist area. The eight men have been identified, but the police have only apprehended two suspects while the remaining perpetrators are still at large.
The woman in a statement to the police said that she was held by the men between 4 and 7 pm after which they abandoned her. She then took an auto-rickshaw to her hotel where she confided to a fellow tourist, who asked the owner to call the police.
In India, which has laws for protection of rape victims, its ministers and politicians have often broken the law, and still have gone unpunished. In March 2013, the Country's Home Minister in his address at the Upper House of Parliament - Rajya Sabha, read out the names of the three minor girls who were raped and murdered in Maharashtra's Bhandara district. In the gruesome incident in Maharashtra, three minor sisters were kidnapped, raped and murdered and their bodies were thrown into well.
Similary in January 2013, former Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad mentioned the name of the medical student who died after being brutally gang-raped by six men in Delhi. He was demanding death penalty for the perpetrators at a function in Kolkata. In his defense, Lalu said that since the victim was dead, her name could be revealed.
As India is quickly losing its popularity before the international community, the least that would be expected from politicians is to know the law and become sensitive to issues that demands due insight and wisdom. The Indian media and citizens hit out against the mistake of the Law Minister, who used to be an advocate himself.
Reactions on Twitter
Delhi Law Min Somnath Bharti named the Danish rape survivor. Disrespecting the Supreme Court guidelines. Law Minister ignorant of law?
— Gaurav Bhatia (@gauravbh) January 16, 2014
Somanth & Kejriwal shd resign @kavita_krishnan Seems the Law Min Somnath Bharti has named d Danish rape survivor. Law Min don't know d law?
— Kumar Saurabh Singh (@KmrSaurabhSingh) January 16, 2014