Portal for complaints on sexual abuse videos should be up by 10 January: SC to Centre

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to have a web portal ready by 10 January next year to enable citizens to register complaints of child sexual abuse, child pornography and gangrape videos.

A bench of Justices MB Lokur and UU Lalit was apprised by the Centre that a portal has been prepared and it would be ready within a month and standard operating procedures were also being prepared for use of the portal.

However, the bench said it was "high time" that the Centre gets the portal ready and available to the public at large.

A file image of the Supreme Court (SC) of India. AP

A file image of the Supreme Court of India. AP

"The matter has been pending for quite some time and we find from the affidavit filed by the CBI on 8 October, 2015, that steps are being taken to enable complaints being filed through a portal," the bench said in its order.

"Therefore, we direct that the Union of India have the portal ready on or before 10 January, 2018. We would like the report to be given on the next date of hearing ie 8 January with regard to the progress made," it said. The bench has been holding an in-camera hearing on this matter.

The court also noted the submission of the petitioner's counsel that the portal should be given adequate publicity so that people could make complaints on it.

It also took note of a status report filed by the Centre but said that "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," the top court said.

The apex court was hearing a letter sent in 2015 to then Chief Justice of India HL Dattu by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala, along with two rape videos in a pen-drive.

The top court had on its own taken cognisance of the letter about the posting of these videos on WhatsApp and asked CBI to launch a probe to apprehend the culprits.

On 18 September, the apex court termed it as "very strange" that internet majors were objecting to making public certain recommendations in a report of a panel set up to explore technical solutions to block videos of sexual offences on social sites.

Earlier, cybersecurity officials who function under the CBI had told the bench that internet was a "wild highway" and blocking objectionable content at the source was a technical challenge for which clear guidelines need to be issued to stop the circulation of such material.

The Centre had informed the court that it would set up a specialised agency to block and curb the sharing of sexual offence videos on social networking platforms.

The NGO's letter had also mooted the idea of maintaining a national sex offenders' register which should contain details of persons convicted for offences like eve-teasing, stalking, molestation and other sexual assaults.

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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2017 18:28:00 IST

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