New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that names and identities of victims of rape and sexual assaults cannot be disclosed, said reports on Tuesday.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had questioned how the identity of minor rape victims could be disclosed and had assured it would examine the aspect related to the IPC’s Section 228-A, dealing with the identity of victims of sexual offences.

A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said, “How could the identity of a rape victim who is alive and minor or unsound mind be disclosed even after getting consent from her parents.”

“Why should the identity of a minor victim be disclosed just because her parents have given consent… Even if a person is of unsound mind, she has a right to privacy. A minor will become major. Why should this stigma be there for life?” they asked, also questioning disclosure of the identity of rape victims who had died.

The bench had also raised the issue of the power of parents giving consent to disclose the name of their minor rape victim child, saying if the parents are poor, they may be given money to disclose the name.

The court’s observation had come after senior advocate Indira Jaising, assisting the court as amicus curiae in a case relating to sexual offences, raised the issue of Section 228-A and sought clarification on it.

She said the court has to clarify the issue as there cannot be a blanket ban on the media from reporting such incidents and the court have to balance freedom of the press and the rights of the victim.

“I can’t agree with such draconian ban to freedom of the press and civil societies,” she added.

Indirectly referring to the recent Kathua incident, the advocate said the victim had died and thousands of people seeking justice for the victim not only in India but also internationally.

Section 228 A of the IPC lays down the provision barring the disclosure of the identity of the victim of certain offences.