India’s No. 1 news channel Aaj Tak paid a price of INR 5 lakh for their ‘detailed’ reporting of a story related to sexual abuse of a minor girl by her father in 2005.
Girl’s mother approached the court as the petitioner.
The Delhi High Court fined Aaj Tak INR 5 lakh for disclosing more than what they should have in telecasting a story related to sexual abuse of a minor girl, thus violating the ‘Right to Privacy’ of the petitioner.
The Court also fined Delhi Police INR 1 lakh for sharing the First Information Report (FIR) with Aaj Tak and imposed INR 25,000 each as litigation cost.
The Court observed “A perusal of the video recording of the said telecast along with its transcript reveals blatant violation and disregard of the petitioner’s daughter’s right to privacy and confidentiality as also the duty of respondent no. 3 (Aaj Tak) herein to maintain utmost secrecy and confidentiality in the matter of the identity of the victim of alleged child sexual abuse. The said telecast discloses: the name of the accused father & his place of work along with his designation – which would not only identify him but also the victim as it is disclosed that the victim is his own daughter; the age of the victim; visual shots of the display board of the colony containing particulars regarding the Sector and Pocket, wherein the petitioner resides with her daughter; visual shots of the staircase leading to the house along with the side shot of the doorstep of the house and; the voice of the petitioner. Revelation of particulars of such nature and to such an extent, are patently sufficient for the disclosure of the identity of the petitioner’s daughter in the petitioner’s community and society…..”
Holding Aaj Tak liable for gross negligence, the Court said “Respondent no. 3 (Aaj Tak) by its conduct, has acted in utter disregard and disrespect of the right of the victim of sexual abuse to privacy, recognised not only as inherent to the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution, but also enumerated in the norms of journalistic conduct by which respondent no. 3 is governed”.
“The petitioner and her daughter shall be entitled to claim further damages from the persons/entities concerned, if they are so advised, by approaching the Civil Court concerned”, the Court further said.
The Court also ordered “The Commissioner of Police shall immediately set up an inquiry into the disclosure of the FIR and its details by the representatives of respondent no.1 (Delhi Police) to the other respondents herein.