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SC Orders ASG Aishwarya Bhati to Furnish Status Report from Union, Internet Intermediaries on Steps Against Child Pornography

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Judge Gavel Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: September 21, 2022 at 21:45 IST

The Supreme Court issued a directive today for the Additional Solicitor General, Aishwarya Bhati, to provide the Court with a progress report on the Government and internet intermediaries in the case involving child sexual abuse, child pornography, and rape/gangrape films within a six-month time frame.

Aparna Bhat, speaking on behalf of the petitioners, informed the court during the hearing that, “a portal was created in regards to the issue to enable filing of the complaints in the matter..”

The Court had also directed for the parties to sit down and frame guidelines in order to prevent the circulation of such contents.

The case was heard by a bench of Justices BR Gavai and CT Ravikumar.

She also let the court know that the portal had grown over time and had begun accepting complaints on other matters, which had diluted the child pornography issue.

She also informed the Court that the CBI has established a division to investigate reports of child abuse.

“Intermediary comprehensive regulations have been notified and inputs from all the stakeholders have been taken,” ASG Aishwarya Bhati informed the court. She asked the court for permission to file a status report.

Advocate N. S. Nappinai, the amicus curiae in the case, said that the government’s report may include the intermediary companies’ report or that they could be ordered to provide a compliance report on their own.

Senior attorney Arvind Datar submitted on behalf of Facebook that, “We’ll submit a compliance report. Everything will be covered by the completely designed IT rules, therefore nothing will be left untouched.”

The Amicus Curiae requested in the submission that the middlemen call in their compliance report.

As a result, the Court gave ASG Aishwarya Bhati six weeks to submit a status report on the Government and all intermediaries, along with a brief note to the Supreme Court.

The court was considering a suo motu suit that it had brought after receiving a letter from the anti-trafficking NGO Prajwala in Hyderabad back in 2015.

The letter had two rape movies on a pen drive and was addressed to the former Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu.

In order to stop these recordings from being uploaded, the letter had urged that the Ministry of Home Affairs collaborate with messaging services and websites. Additionally, it had urged the states to implement specialised training for cybercrime challenges.

The Union was instructed by the Court to establish a web gateway for reporting allegations of child sex abuse and child pornography in December 2017.