News channel, cops to pay up for 'unethical' work

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed Delhi Police and Aaj Tak to pay a compensation of Rs 6.5 lakh to a sexual-abuse victim for disclosing her identity eight years ago.

The court also directed the police commissioner to set up an inquiry into the disclosure of the FIR and its details by police to media.

“Police and Aaj Tak are directed to pay to the petitioner’s daughter a compensation of Rs 6 lakh, of which Rs 1 lakh shall be paid by police and Rs 5 lakh shall be paid by the news channel,” Justice Vipin Sanghi said and directed them to deposit the amount in four weeks.

In addition, the court also directed each of them to pay Rs 25,000 as litigation cost to the minor girl.

“While arriving at the figures of damages awarded against respondents, this court has taken into account the extent of negligent role played by each of them in the serious infraction of the fundamental right to life of the petitioners daughter,” the court observed.

The court also directed the commissioner of police to “immediately” set up an inquiry into the disclosure of the FIR and its details by the police officials to the media and said “the inquiry shall be headed by an officer not below the rank of a DCP, who shall not be from the same district with which this case pertains and who should not have had any connection or dealing with the FIR in question in the past”.

The court said the inquiry should be conducted within four months. The court passed the order on a woman’s plea alleging that police had disclosed to the media the contents of the FIR lodged on August 2, 2005 by her minor daughter accusing her father of sexually abuse. The woman alleged that due to publicity, the victim faced irremediable social embarrassment and was unable to attend school regularly.

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