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Set up portal by Jan 10 to take child porn plaints: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the home ministry to set up a Portal by January 10 for centralised lodging of complaints by citizens against child pornography and rape videos circulated on social networks.

After a nearly three-year hearing in a case initiated suo motu on receiving a letter from Hyderabad-based NGO ‘Prajwala’ about such videos posing a serious threat to the safety of women and children, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Uday Umesh Lalit directed the Centre on Monday “to have the portal ready on or before January10” and sought a Status Report by January 8.

Appearing for ‘Prajwala’, advocate Aparna Bhat requested the court to direct the Centre to give adequate publicity to the portal to enable citizens to file complaints. She said the identity of complainants should be protected or they should be permitted to file anonymous complaints.

Appearing for the home ministry and the CBI, advocate R Balasubramanian said he would advise the Centre to agree to Bhat’s request.

The bench said, “The matter has been pending for quite some time and we find from the CBI’s October 8, 2015, affidavit that steps are being taken to enable complaints being filed through a portal. It is high time that the Union of India gets the portal ready and makes it available to the public.”

The SC expressed dissatisfaction over the Centre’s casual approach towards an important issue. It said, “Counsel for the Union of India has handed over a status report. Unfortunately, on going through the status report, it is found to be more in the nature of comments rather than a status report. We expect the Union of India to file a proper detailed status report rather than comments on the orders passed by this court.”

On February 18, 2015, ‘Prajwala’ had written a letter to the CJI annexing two rape videos which were being circulated on social media. It had said these videos indicated that rape was being committed with impunity and the offenders had the audacity to record the crime and flaunt it in the public domain.

The SC had taken suo motu cognisance of the letter and converted it into a criminal writ petition and asked the CBI to investigate the circulation of rape videos on social networking sites. It simultaneously started a process to devise a mechanism to deal with the menace.

The CBI found six more rape clips on social media sites and registered eight cases and announced a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh for identification of each accused seen in the clips. In one case, the UP police arrested a few accused from Sitapur but the SC allowed the CBI to make further investigations. Odisha government came for strong criticism for neither appearing before the court despite notice nor depositing the Rs 50,000 cost imposed on it for non-appearance and the SC had summoned the state’s chief secretary.

The Centre had informed the court in November last year that it had decided to set up an investigating unit for crimes against women. Later, it informed the court that it had given in-principle approval to set up of a cyber crime prevention unit and approved a budget of Rs 196 crore for the next three years.

Source : timesofindia



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Set up portal by Jan 10 to take child porn plaints: SC

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