The Delhi High Court has directed all hospitals, courts and child welfare authorities in the city to start implementing guidelines on not disclosing the identity of a child victim of a crime by July 15.
On March 25, the court of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw asked the court registry to circulate the guidelines which it had finalised in an order issued last November.
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Earlier, guidelines were issued on reporting of all crimes against children and restricting media from revealing any information pertaining to the identity of a child victim or juvenile offender. The guidelines were created by a court-appointed committee — including representatives from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the Delhi government, Press Council of India, NGOs working in the field of child rights and other stakeholders.
Sources said rules for police personnel and lawyers in cases relating to child victims or juveniles are yet to be finalised, as the Delhi Police and the Bar Council of India are yet to give their feedback on the draft suggestions.
The guidelines for hospitals include a ban on revealing the identity of a child, brought to any medical facility, to the media without orders from a court. Courts and child welfare authorities have been directed to “obliterate details leading to disclosure of identity of a child from judicial proceedings before issuing a certified copy or uploading them online.”
Hospitals have also been directed to create inquiry committees to look into any future leaks of information relating to the identity of a child and take action against the person who gave out such information.
In last week’s hearing, advocate Anant Asthana — who had filed the PIL in 2012, leading to formulation of the guidelines — informed the court that the they were not being implemented by the authorities.
Interestingly, the ban on revealing the identity of a child has also had negative effects. In February, a petition was filed by a child victim, alleging that she was unable to claim compensation because the Juvenile Justice Board was not giving out a copy of its order convicting the juvenile. Asthana said this issue has been resolved by the court’s latest directions.