Supreme Court asks IT Ministry to respond on blocking circulation of rape videos
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Information Technology Ministry to respond on how to block videos of rape cases.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Information Technology Ministry to respond on how to block videos of rape cases, which are circulating on social network websites, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
A social justice bench of justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit sought the ministry's reply after social activist Sunitha Krishnan submitted that there should be a particular place where one could report about circulation of such rape videos and seeking their blocking.
Krishnan, who is the co-founder of NGO Prajwala engaged in rescue and rehabilitation of victim of sex trafficking, said that apart from the nine complaints on which CBI was probing, she has another 90 cases but there was no single authority before whom she could lodge a complaint for blocking such videos.
She added that social networking websites, including Facebook and YouTube, take action on her complaints and block circulation of rape videos.
But she also urged the court to form some temporary arrangement where one could go and lodge the complaint.
Krishnan said that IT Ministry could help in blocking such videos.
"Some measures have to be taken for reporting of matters under Section 19, 20 and 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012," she said.
The court was hearing a letter sent to Chief Justice of India HL Dattu by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala along with two rape videos in a pen drive.
It had earlier taken suo motu note of a letter on posting of two rape videos on 'WhatsApp' and had asked CBI to launch a probe "forthwith" to nab the culprits.
The court had also sought responses of the Centre and governments of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Delhi and Telangana.
The NGO had said that one video, which was 4.5 minutes long, showed a man raping a girl while another person was filming the heinous act.
The other video, spanning 8.5 minutes, relates to gangrape of a girl by five culprits who have been shown smiling, cracking jokes, making a video and taking photos while they went about sexually assaulting the victim, it had said.
The court had issued notices to central ministries of Home Affairs and Information Technology and ahd asked the MHA Secretary to "forward the pen drive/DVD" to the CBI Director "forthwith" for the investigation.
It had taken "cognisance" of the letter referred to it by the CJI and ordered that a proper petition be filed later on.
The NGO's letter had also suggested that a task force be set up for looking into the sexual offences and a mechanism be evolved to ensure that citizens report such crimes a "fearless" manner and their identity be protected.
It had 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.
The NGO had also suggested that the MHA should have a tie up with 'YouTube' and 'WhatsApp' to ensure that such offensive videos are not uploaded and culprits are punished as well.
The SC on 11 January had stayed the implementation of the three laws till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse. The committee was given two months to study the laws and consult all stakeholders
In the proceedings conducted through video-conferencing, the bench refused to accept submissions of Rupali Sharma, representative of Envitech Marine, that this is a 'national treasury' and needed to be saved
The apex court has also imposed costs of Rs 50,000 on the petitioner, which was filed by former UP Shia Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi