Bombay court has issue new guidelines to protect sexual harrased victims. The guidelines include protecting the name of the victim for safety.
Justice Gautam Patel have passed an order to protect both the party in cases of sexual harassments. So that the name and image are not harm while proceeding the case in court.
Justice Patel in his order said that “In the order sheets, the names of the parties will not be mentioned. The orders will read ‘A vs B’, ‘P vs D’ etc. In the body of the order, the parties will not be referred to by their names but only as to Plaintiff, Defendant No 1 etc. In the body of any order, there will be no mention of any personally identifiable information (PII) such as email ids, mobile or telephone numbers, addresses etc. No witness’s names will be mentioned, nor will their addresses be noted. Orders/judgments on merits will not be uploaded.”
It is a seven page order that is released by Justice GS Patel . He set out a working protocol for further orders, hearings and case file management in the high court register to protect the identity of parties involved. Even accidental disclosure is not allowed of any side. He himself noted that there were no established guidelines so far.
Talking about the current order, the court said that, “Because this order sets out general guidelines and does not address the merits, it is permitted to be uploaded.”
About pronouncing the orders/judgements in these cases, the court said that “All orders and judgments will be delivered in private, that is to say, not pronounced in open court but only in chambers or in-camera.”
For filing purposes, the order said that “No PII document shall be retained by the Registry when an affidavit, application or pleading is being filed. For verification of identity, the Registry may ask for production of an identity document to establish the identity of the deponent, but no copy of any such document is to be retained
The hearing will be done in courtroom itself and no third party will be allowed .All hearings will only be in chambers or in-camera. There will be no online or hybrid facility for hearings.
All hearings must be by physical attendance. Only the advocates and the litigants are permitted to attend hearings. Support staff (clerks, peons, etc), must leave the Court. Except for the Court Master/Associate or Sheristedar and the stenographer or person providing secretarial assistance, other court staff must also leave the court and not be present at the hearing.
The court said that, “If any order is to be released into the public domain, this will require a specific order of the Court. This will be on the condition that only the fully anonymized version of the order of judgement is let
into the public domain for publication.”
About media disclosure, the court order said that “Both sides and all parties and advocates, as also witnesses, are forbidden from disclosing the contents of any order, judgment or filing to the media or publishing any such material in any mode or fashion by any means, including social media, without specific leave of the court.”
These guidelines were issued when a case hearing was going on. Where a woman filed a case against the harasser. The victim and harasser both worked at the same place.