Women Safety Issues – Marital Rape, Domestic Violence, Swadhar, Nirbhaya Fund, etc.

What are in-camera proceedings, when are they conducted?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: In-Camera Proceedings

Mains level: Not Much

The Supreme Court has rejected a plea by a rape case accused for an in-camera hearing.

What are in-camera proceedings?

  • In-camera proceedings are private, unlike open court proceedings.
  • It is conducted as per the court’s discretion in sensitive matters to ensure protection and privacy of the parties involved.
  • The proceedings are usually held through video conferencing or in closed chambers, from which the public and press are excluded.
  • In an open court or open justice system, which is the usual course of proceedings, the press is allowed to report on the matter being heard.

In-camera trial in rape cases

  • Section 327 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has detailed the types of cases that should be recorded on camera, including inquiry into and trial in rape case.
  • The said section states that if the presiding judge or a magistrate thinks fit, she can order at any stage of the proceedings that the public generally, or any particular person, shall not remain present in the courtroom or the court building.
  • The said provision says that the inquiry into and trial be held in camera for various offences punishable under section 376 (rape) of the IPC.
  • The law also prescribes that in such cases, the trial be conducted as far as possible by a woman judge or a magistrate.

Other cases where in-camera proceedings are held

  • In-camera proceedings are usually conducted at family courts in cases of matrimonial disputes, including judicial separation, divorce proceedings, impotence, and more.
  • In-camera proceedings are also conducted during the deposition of witnesses of terrorist activities as per the court’s discretion, so as to protect them and maintain national security.

What about publishing of such a hearing?

  • Section 327 of the CrPC states that it shall not be lawful to publish any matter in relation to in-camera proceedings except with the previous permission of the court.
  • It adds that the ban on publishing of trial proceedings for offence of rape may be lifted subject to maintaining confidentiality of name and address of the parties.



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