Bharatiya Janata Party leader Meenakshi Lekhi on Sunday informed National Commission for Women that she did not reveal on a social media site the name of the woman journalist who had accused Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal of sexual assault and alleged that this is an attempt to malign her.
Lekhi, who is BJP spokesperson, also sought to know why the NCW had not taken any action in the case of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Congress leader Alka Lamba and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who had revealed names of victims in other cases in the past. She had reportedly revealed in one of her tweets the surname of the young journalist who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Tejpal in Goa. She was served a notice by the NCW on the matter and given 24 hours to reply.
Lekhi, a lawyer by profession, insisted in her reply that she had not violated Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code which deals with disclosure of identity of the victim in certain offences.
"I am well versed in the subject and sensitive to the issue not to realise the sanctity of secrecy or the necessity to protect the identity of a rape victim to be involved in any crude attempt reveal the same. I have not disclosed the name or identity of the victim," Lekhi said in her reply.
"No disclosure can be attributed to me as what has been 'printed and published' cannot be imputed to me. The condition precedent for attracting Section 228A IPC is not satisfied," she added.
She claimed that her Twitter handle and mobile phone were misused. Denying the charge against her, Lekhi pointed out that her tweet does not "make known, lay bare nor even remove from secrecy or ignorance" the person.
Further, Lekhi insisted that the identity of the victim was in public domain even before her tweet and yet the NCW had not taken any action. She also questioned the NCW on why it had not taken any action when Shinde, Lamba and Gogoi had revealed the identity of victims.
The BJP leader had said earlier her Google Account was hacked and even a fake Twitter account was created. "The very circumstances of the case suggest that the law has been invoked to malign me and create controversy without regard to the victim whose interest is sought to be protected," Lekhi alleged. She also pointed out that the tweet was removed immediately.