Supreme Court asks Centre to furnish compilation of status reports on circulation of child pornography, rape videos

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and C T Ravikumar was told by Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, who appeared for the Centre, that the status report of the government is ready

Press Trust of India September 19, 2022 21:10:47 IST
Supreme Court asks Centre to furnish compilation of status reports on circulation of child pornography, rape videos

Supreme Court of India. ANI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to furnish within six weeks a compilation of the status reports of the government and internet intermediaries in a matter relating to eliminating the circulation of child pornography and rape videos and images.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and C T Ravikumar was told by Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, who appeared for the Centre, that the status report of the government is ready.

“It will be appropriate that service providers shall also file the status report(s) and supply the copy of the requisite report(s) to the Additional Solicitor General,” the bench said.

“The Additional Solicitor General is requested to furnish the compilation of the status report of the Union of India as well as the status report(s) of all the service providers with a short note within a period of six weeks from today,” the bench said in its order.

During the hearing, Bhati told the top court that they are ready with a status report regarding the developments that have happened.

“This matter is coming up after some time,” she said, adding that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 have also been notified.

Bhati said the 2021 Rules are comprehensive.

An advocate, who is assisting the apex court as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the matter, said the court can also direct the internet intermediaries to file their status reports in the matter.

The bench has posted the matter for hearing on 3 November.

The top court, in 2015, had taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of a letter written to the then CJI H L Dattu (since retired) alleging circulation of two rape videos.

Earlier in 2018, the top court had said the Centre might frame guidelines or standard operating procedures (SoP) to eliminate online videos and images of child pornography and rape and implement them.

Prior to this, it had observed that the Centre and internet giants, including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, agreed that videos of rape, child pornography, and objectionable material needed to be “stamped out”.

The NGO’s letter to the then CJI was taken note of by the apex court in 2015 and had asked the CBI to launch a probe to apprehend the culprits responsible for the circulation of rape videos.

The 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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